25th September 2017

Plumbing the Depths 

“And he said, ‘Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.’”
Daniel 12:9–10 (NKJV)

Back in 1934 my parents received the handsome wedding present of a refrigerator. I remember it humming away in the kitchen throughout my childhood. It finally gave up the ghost in 1970, and I replaced it. But since then I’ve had to do that twice more. It seems that today obsolescence is built into our machines.

And it seems that something similar extends throughout our current world. TV and film, music and drama reinforce the reality that our age constantly needs the new, and it’s out with the old. Then there are award ceremonies where honours go to the current heartthrobs, but, again, today’s top of the pops or Oscar-winning film is tomorrow consigned to obscurity and dismissal. Even in politics, many use words that divert and mask what the politicians can actually deliver, despite what they might promise. And today’s manifesto seems ignored once politicians have secured their place in parliament or local councils.

No wonder people query the same approach in religion. The ‘old fashioned’ religion of parents doesn’t seem fit for purpose in today’s throw-away society. The Christian religion may be 2,000+ years old, but today’s churches introduce up-to-date programmes and with-it worship formats to attract members. It’s not so much new information, nor old information newly repackaged or presented. It’s that religion has consciously made the decision to meet the people where they are, rather than where Christianity once strove to take them.

And yet, our age is one where Christian theology has advanced out of all recognition. We might use the analogy that instead of being a black-and-white tv of yesteryear, today it’s advanced beyond colour TV to multi-dimensional 3D TV. And that, surely, is how it should be. Christianity has actually kept its freshness and relevance to us all for over 2,000 years. Just as humanity has changed in lifestyle, prosperity and behaviour, so actually has real Christianity. And looking to the future, that’s how it will always be.

The Bible not only remains relevant today, it’s actually much more vital, in that it explains the imponderables of our age, where it’s come from and where it’s going. Our God doesn’t change, but he does reveal new things, new depths of understanding, and the more so as time moves on. We can certainly draw this inference from what Daniel was told at the end of his prophetic ministry in the header scripture, and personally realise that religion isn’t old hat, it’s the future—our future. 

Holy Father, so much of how we live our lives must be rooted in the immediacy of today, but help us to take to heart that true Christianity, true religion, is the answer to every dilemma that human beings face. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by John Stettaford


About the Author:
John Stettaford is an Elder in the Reading Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Reading
Prospect School,
Room A1 (Main Building)
Honey End Lane

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11am

Local Congregational Contact:
John Stettaford
Phone: 01923-241426
Email: pastor@wcg-reading.org.uk

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