Change can be positive or negative, uplifting or deflating, sudden or gradual. Given enough time, the one thing it will always be is certain. Places will change. The English novelist, Thomas Hardy, wrote, “You can’t go home again.” Anyone who has tried it after being away for a few years soon discovers how true that is. Several houses and stores are probably demolished or boarded up. New structures will have been constructed. Even the old home place may have new people with different values. People will have changed too. Try going to a High School reunion after a few years have passed and the classmates you see will have aged, changed their relationships, politics and goals. They might not recognize you either for the same reasons. You will probably still have the mental picture of your classmates that you have carried for all these years only to be amazed at how everyone but you has changed. Circumstances can change dramatically. Braniff, Montgomery Wards, Borders and many other big business companies no longer exist. The Post Office, Sears, and several newspapers are close to the same fate. New means of communication have sprung up to replace the typewriter and phone booths. Progress for some but economic ruin for others comes with change.

What about Christians and the Lord’s church? Are we still clinging relentlessly to the same status quo that we had when we first believed? In doctrine that is good (Rev 2:13) but in many other areas not so much (Rev 3:15-16). Several epistles laud the 1st Century Christians for their growth in grace, knowledge and faith (2 Pe 3:18) (Col 1:10) (2 Th 1:3). Far too many congregations have stagnated and refused to change and eventually die. Isn’t it uplifting to return to a congregation and see how much the Christians there have progressed spiritually?

There are some things that have not and will not change. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb 13:8) Of course this doesn’t refer to his physical body which was pierced and brutalized during his “trial” and crucifixion. No doubt as part of the Godhead it refers to his: expectations, love, mercy, justice and many other spiritual and eternal qualities. “Everything that God does will endure forever.” (Ecc 3:14) “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever.” (Ps 106:1)

—Jim Bailey