SCRIPTURE: Matthew 3:2 (TM)
His message was simple and austere, like his desert surroundings: "Change your life. God's kingdom is here."
STORY as told by Clark Cothern Tecumseh:
The U.S. standard railroad gauge (distance between rails) is four feet, eight-and-one-half inches.
Why such an odd number? Because that's the way they built them in England, and American railroads were built by British expatriates.
Why did the English adopt that particular gauge? Because the people who built the pre-railroad tramways used that gauge.
They in turn were locked into that gauge because the people who built tramways used the same standards and tools they had used for building wagons, which were set on a gauge of four feet, eight-and-one-half inches.
"Why were wagons built to that scale? Because with any other size, the wheels did not match the old wheel ruts on the roads.
"So who built these old rutted roads?
"The first long-distance highways in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions. The roads have been in use ever since. The ruts were first made by Roman war chariots. Four feet, eight-and-one-half inches was the width a chariot needed to be to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses."
Maybe "that's the way it's always been" isn't the great excuse some people believe it to be.
It has been quoted a million times or more that the seven last words of the church are: “We have never done it that way.” But would be the seven last words of an individual? Could it be, “That’s the way I’ve always done it.”
Facing the prospects of the New Year carries a great deal of hope and promise provided that each of us is open to change. Changing the way we think, act and feel. If we, as well as the church, do not change we just might find ourselves in old “ruts” that were established by the influence of others in our lives, “ruts” that make little sense in this day.
We make our excuses and live our lives, but God is in the change business. It is tough. Easy to say we want to change, but when change begins to take place we get upset, especially if it directly affects us. This is especially true in the church. Which is particular sad when those in the church are being called by God to be change agents within the world.
Bring about change, O God, and may it start with me! Amen