WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN
“One of the seemingly indestructible human delusions is that of supposing that back somewhere in the past there was a time when there were large numbers of men and women who were good and true and pious and loyal to God in a sense in which only an exceptional few are good and true and pious and loyal today.”
Sunday School Magazine, January 1910
Many of the articles I write harken back to an easier time when camp meetings were the only form of social media and summer camp included tents, but not air conditioning or indoor plumbing. If only we could get back to these times when life was easier and we agreed on how to move forward. Well, it appears by this quote that I am not the only one, except this was written in 1910 and they, too, want to harken back to an easier time. What’s Old Is New Again.
It is no wonder that people living in 2021 might have had enough of the present times and be a bit nervous in regard to the future. The world has experienced too much in the last few years: too much illness, too much change, too much uncertainty. The 24-hour news cycle reinforces all our doubts and fears, and carrying this news with us in our pockets wherever we go isn’t helping.
We longingly remember the days of the rotary kitchen phone with only one line and an extra-long cord to get as far into the dining room as possible for privacy. The days when televisions had only five channels and no remote control but loads of cartoons on a Saturday morning make us smile with nostalgia. We wish our kids spent as much time catching lightning bugs on a summer evening as they do playing Xbox or checking Instagram. If only we could get back there, then we would feel safe.
Sadly, though, there doesn’t really exist. It never did. During all of those previous times which we remember so fondly, fear and doubt, change and disagreement lived with us, too. When we look past the nostalgia and really examine the past, we find health concerns, job concerns, and societal changes. Quoting Ecclesiastes 1:9, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
“The New Testament looks forward to a time when the sovereignty of this world shall become the sovereignty of our Lord and of his Christ.”
This is the end of the paragraph quoted in the beginning of this article. The New Testament looks forward and so should we. We should look forward to the time when God’s love through Christ’s life reigns over this world and, despite setbacks that happen occasionally, we are getting closer to this every day. The human race may be moving slowly, but we are moving closer to God. Therefore, as we were challenged in 1910, I challenge us all to look forward with the faith, hope, and love that only God can provide.
Anne Packard serves as Conference Historian and director of the Arthur J. Moore Methodist Museum on St. Simons Island. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.