“As we honour the past we inspire the future.”
The issue of mullets came up in conversation at work some time ago—yes, that’s the 1980s hairstyle of choice making a ‘comeback’ in our hazy recollections. Those times seemed so long ago, and yet they were only twenty or thirty years back. We struggle to contemplate a time when there were no Automatic Teller Machines.
Calling back our minds a century ago now and we’re suddenly finding a world we can no longer really connect with. Horse-drawn carriages and kerosene lamps are something we grapple with; our imaginations stretched without digital television and air travel.
Go back further a century or two before that and we have in-between some of the most productive post-reformation grace-laden words ever written—the great Christian hymns unto the entire age post-Jesus; yes, all 1,980 years of it.
Where’s Our Identity?
I’ll always recall the advice of A.W. Tozer encouraging theological devotees to get themselves a good hymn book; one that’s at least one hundred years old! (Well, that hymn book would need to be one hundred and fifty years old now.)
The best ‘cross-first-grace-always’ theology is locked into these treasured centuries-old hymns. When we rest in their words and music they help us to truly enjoy the most congruent sense of God’s abiding Presence. In these we ‘read’ God truly.
Therefore, they’re about setting our identities in the solidity of gospel truth with nothing shaky and undoable about it.
And From This Platform...
Jesus tells the disciples and other followers in Matthew 7:24-27 to build their faith on rock—by being hearers and doers of his Word. We know a solid faith by virtue of our doing what is set concrete-hard in truth.
Our heritage, we should believe, is steeped in this great Christian tradition; a trustworthy theology that stood all our Christian ancestors in solid stead with the Lord.
From this solid platform, then, having honoured our heritage—having soaked in the intoxicating God-blessed wine of odes like Amazing Grace, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross and How Great Thou Art—we are catapulted in our faith to the very pinnacle of God’s truth.
Our long-dead brothers and sisters speak eternally through the God-revealed spiritual words of ages long gone. These are those that are inspiring our futures—yes, in our ‘noble’ and ‘sophisticated’ age... an age which is not new.
Without a good and solid identity we’ll struggle. But, worse than that, we’ll also have nothing substantial to inspire us without our true heritage to grab hold of.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.