Change and Decay
One of the most difficult things about growing old is sensing the ever increasing speed of change all around us.
I see it in the technical field. Back in the mid 60’s when I realized that nearly all the Christian songs I loved were being removed from being played on Christian radio stations, I bought at deep discounts, (for they wanted to get rid of them as being out of style) a large quantity of my favorite hymns and songs of testimony on 33rpm records hoping to enjoy them all my life. Records get scratchy over the years and record players grow old and fail. Now try to find a record player in the electronic stores.
I once, just for the fun of it, asked a young lady clerk in one of these stores if she had any Victrolas for sale. You should have seen the look in her eyes as she looked at me as an alien from another world.
Over the years I have accumulated family VCR tapes to play and enjoy in old age. The tapes fall apart and become difficult and then impossible to play. The audio tapes I have accumulated over the years are becoming obsolete. New tape recorders are about impossible to find.
But more vexing than technical change is the moral fog that is closing in on Christians as I see what used to be evil now considered good. Their faulty response is, “We are being freed from legalism.” Check Paul’s warning of legalism in Galatians and you will find it was the false attempt to be saved through law-keeping and self-righteousness. Paul not only dealt with legalism; but he also dealt very clearly and sharply with carnality and worldiness in the lives of Christians.
Abide With Me, written in 1847, is one of those old hymns I’ve known all my life; but never thought about very much.
What the hymn writer wrote. I understand better now than at any time in my life.
Abide with me, fast falls the even tide:
The darkness deepens, (the moral darkness of this wicked world system)
Lord with me abide;
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see:
O Thou who changes not, abide with me.
I need Thy presence ev’ry passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be?
Thro’ cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine thro’ the gloom, and point me to the skies;
Heav’n morning breaks and earth’s vain shadows flee:
In life and death, Lord, abide with me!
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