We have come into times when things seem to get old very quickly.
Songs that were popular in the 1950s, '60s, '70s, are today considered really old, even quaint.
Electronics that were new just a few years ago are already outdated, even obsolete. By the time we buy a new computer it is probably already obsolete, at least compared to the new advances that are becoming available. How many of us still play music on cassette tapes? I remember when cassette tapes first began to be available (about 50 years ago). The sound quality was not nearly so good at first, compared to the earlier eight-track tape players. But it soon improved greatly, and like suddenly the eight-track players were outmoded. I had been procrastinating about buying an eight-track player. We only had the old-fashioned disk records, 45s, 78s, and the newer LP records that were so great. But everybody else it seemed was going to the eight-tracks, so I thought we should buy a new eight-track player to get up to speed with the new technology. As it happened, the new cassette tapes took over so quickly that I never got around to getting an eight-track player.
We will soon be into Easter time.
It is a time when Christians celebrate the heart of the Christian faith, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a time of new beginnings, a time of believing in new possibilities, a time of reaffirming life and renewing hope and anticipation. In our church life, we sing songs both old and new. Many of the songs we think of as old are really not "that old," they are maybe a hundred years old or so, such as "The Old Rugged Cross," which was new in 1913. We have some great songs that are hundreds of years old. But we sing some new songs, too. I want to quote the words of a song by Brian Wren, first published in 1978. To me it is timely at Easter time, and can be good medicine for us during times when we have had to contend with many difficulties. It is entitled: "This Is a Day of New Beginnings."
"This is a day of new beginnings, time to remember and move on, time to believe what love is bringing, laying to rest the pain that's gone. For by the life and death of Jesus, God's mighty Spirit, now as then, can make for us a world of difference, as faith and hope are born again. Then let us, with the Spirit's daring, step from the past and leave behind our disappointment, guilt, and grieving, seeking new paths, and sure to find. Christ is alive, and goes before us to show and share what love can do. This is a day of new beginnings. Our God is making all things new."
Living positively and hopefully does not come easy for many of us. We may be so caught up if the tough things that our life presents us that we cannot easily think hopefully or expectantly. Yet one of the qualities the world needs most is a people who believe in looking toward better things, expecting that caring people working together can effect hopeful changes and make for a better world for all people.
We do not want to live in a dog-eat-dog world, we want to live in a world where people care about how things are going for their fellow human beings, where people believe in treating others as they hope to be treated by other people. We hope for a world in which it is not just "every man for himself," but where each of us seeks to contribute to the good of all. Living positively and hopefully happens best as we begin looking at life and its possibilities as God sees them, as we have learned to see through Jesus Christ.
We have a trust crisis in our world today. Lack of trust involves expecting bad things of people and bad things of the other influences around us. Lack of trust undermines so many things that could otherwise work for the bettering of lives. So many people do not trust others in their lives, many don't trust the government, or the courts, or the schools, or the doctors, or the scientists, or even the ways we choose our leaders. This is not good for people, it is not good for our country, it is not good for democracy.
We need to find ways to affirm the value of people living and working together, living and working on behalf of one another, living positively and hopefully, believing that God above is leading the way.
Editor's note: Jerry Nichols, a native of Pea Ridge and an award-winning columnist, is vice president of Pea Ridge Historical Society. Opinions expressed are those of the writer. He can be contacted by e-mail at [email protected], or call 621-1621.