This New Year has got me thinking about a few things.
We often talk about the New Year, New me stuff – gettting fit, eating healthy and all that stuff. And it reminded me of something that Barney says on How I Met Your Mother. “New is always better!”
And to some degree that’s true isn’t it? Or the hope is there that it is. For many we can hope that this new year is going to be better than the last one because last year was filled with too much sadness. We can hope that a new job is better than the last because of the bullying faced in a workplace. But sadly, that’s not always the case.
In churches too we can often have this view of New is Always Better. I was at a youth event a couple of months ago and the band played music that about 5 people out of the 50 that were there sung. Now I know that some of that is young people not wanting to sing, but for many it would have been because they had no idea what the songs were. In youth work we can often think that New Is Always Better, and that if it’s not new then it’s not cool and the Youth will hate it. But if we keep doing new things, if we keep trying to sing new songs then people just get confused. There’s a good time to bring in new, but also there is a time when old is comforting, when it brings stability.
But there’s another thing that we often think we need to change. And that is the message that we bring. We think that the Bible is too old fashioned, so we try and make it “cooler”. We think that young peole will swicth off if we try and teach the Bible, and what it teaches. So we come up with a ‘new gospel’. We might try and take out the fact that God hates sin, and just talk about God’s love. We might try to forget that being a Christian is hard, and we just talk about the victory and physical blessings that God brings. There is an aspect of truth in them, but these ‘new gospels’ just don’t cut it though. By ignoring the wrath of God on sin we diminish the power of the cross, and by ignoring trials of many kinds we fail to prepare new Christians for the Spiritual warfare they face.
So there is a time when new is better, when change is necessary. Perhaps our style and method of communication, but not the message that we communicate. The message that Paul says is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, “Christ came into the world to save sinners.”