I think we all know an old couch when we see one. Sagged and stained, with a scent that we’d rather not think about, they occupy the corners in our homes. We wonder why the family still keeps them. Don’t wonder too closely, odds are you have one as well.
Old couches are filled with memories. I see an old couch ready for the curb. You see years and years of relationships and the emotions.
Church practices are old couches. We come together and share our memories. They are happy times, when we were young, our children now adults, but then children by our side. A hymn, a classroom, a name cut in a window, carry our emotions along. We look on and wonder, where are the numbers that used to come? Can’t they see what we see?
No, they can’t. It’s just an old couch.
Ever notice Jesus never says in Matthew 28.19-20 precisely how we are to make disciples in his name? The reason is the practices change with each age and culture. The church asks the same question: how do we make disciples, the answer changes, practice changes as the culture changes.
There’s an old letter. We’re not quite sure whom it was addressed. The earliest copies have the name missing. This is what it says: “I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.”
Hope drives out sentiment. Understanding brings insight. Heirs have the confidence to ask the questions.
Paul knew his stuff. The truth is eternal. Practices change. Practices are put away.
The Third Way burns old couches.