There is nothing like a good dose of history to make one recognize how short our days are on this earth. Just a couple of weeks ago we celebrated homecoming at Lockport and recognized that our church is now 115 years old. We heard names mentioned of people we had never met and heard of their desire to establish a church building at our current location. We also recognized that I have had the privilege of serving as pastor of this local group of believers for over 25 years. Even in that relatively short time many things have changed. A good number of the people in attendance 25 years ago are with the Lord. There are several couples who I married in the early years here who now have children in college. Time continues forward and I note that one day my name will probably only come up as someone reminisces about the “old days.”
But all that is really fairly recent history! This Monday, November 7, Christ and I and nine other people from the church will begin our journey to the Holy Land. Even before we get to Israel we will spend a day in Istanbul and be reminded of believers who gathered to worship Christ long before our church or even our country existed. We will see the Hagia Sophia, a building built by believers in 532-537, but even it replaced a building that they had worshiped in since about 360. History took its toll on that church which became a Mosque as a result of the Ottoman Turks conquering the area in 1453. For the last 67 years now it has simply been preserved as a museum. When we go to Jerusalem we will see another ancient church building. The Church of the Nativity dates back to 327. Destroyed by fire it was rebuilt in 565. There are still people worshiping the Lord there. And then we will need to remember that we will be walking on land that God gave to Abraham over 4000 years ago.
All of that makes my 25 years of ministry here at a church that is 115 years old seem fairly recent! The truth is that our time here is short. From a human perspective we are “but a vapor.” And yet, the Eternal God chose to not only create us but to enter time and space in the person of His Son, our Lord Jesus, and to grant to us eternal life! How wonderful He is. The song-writer Margaret Clarkson expressed it this way:
God of the ages, history’s Maker, planning our pathway, holding us fast, shaping in mercy all that concerns us: Father, we praise you, Lord of the past.
God of this morning, gladly your children worship before you, trustingly bow; teach us to know you always among us, quietly sovereign– Lord of our now.
God of tomorrow, strong overcomer, princes of darkness own your command: what then can harm us? We are your people, now and forever kept by your hand.
Lord of past ages, Lord of this morning, Lord of the future, help us, we pray: teach us to trust you, love and obey you, crown you each moment, Lord of today!
Yours in Christ,