Change. It is one of the great constants of life. People change. Circumstances change. Technologies change. Hopes change. While there is truth in the old saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same,” it doesn’t alter the fact that things change. The older I get, the more I understand my parents’ and grandparents’ lament over things not being the way they used to be. I do miss the days when gas was 25 cents a gallon. And it would be nice to go to a movie without being assaulted by language that curls your hair. However, I have come to see that their–and now my–longing is far more than mere nostalgia. It is rooted in a deeply felt desire for something that will last, something that can be depended upon no matter what. It is a God-birthed yearning in the soul of every man, woman, and child for something that is eternal and unchanging.
In the reading from Luke today, Jesus promises us just that. He offers something which will never change: His words.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Luke 21:33
While Jesus was referring specifically to what He had just taught about the destruction of the Temple and His Second Advent, there is a larger truth about the Word of God with which Jesus was associating His own teaching: God’s Word does not change. It is an expression of who God is.
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Isaiah 40:8
Could it be that our nostalgic wishes for days long gone are actually echoes of the cries from the deepest place inside of us for the unchanging and immovable: that rock on which to build our lives, that safe harbor to which we can take our most fragile hopes, that strong arm that can defend us from dangers seen and unseen? Jesus reveals that this longing in our souls is not met in going back to more pleasant or gentler days that time has erased, memory has distorted, and the present has ennobled. It is satisfied by His unchanging words. As we “hear them, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them” (BCP p.236), we are given a place into which to sink deep roots and something to trust without hesitation: His words.