George Eastman must be rolling over in his grave. If you know your history, you will recall that he founded a company called Kodak. Long known for over a century as a pioneer in photography and film processing, the Kodak brand had been as American as baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie. Growing up in a generation when pictures went in albums with sticky pages and not on Facebook definitely dates me. I found myself leafing through some of them recently, some yellowed with age, accompanied by those brown, thin strips called “negatives.” It was a quite the day in the early 1980s when I got my own Polaroid Instamatic model. Remember the kind when you took the picture, it popped out the front, you shook it for a minute, and voila! — there you were? Entire decades of my life can be seen that way.
Now 30 years later, that American iconic brand, has declared for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Through recent years with the advances in technology, Kodak would not change. They kept true to the same old methods, changing very little, and the world has passed them by. Change can do that to even the mightiest of institutions even with 100 years of history….
Now, rewind your mind back to the year 2000 and think about how you watched movies. Many a snowy weekend meant you could stop by the video store, pick up a few VHS tapes, pop some popcorn, and you had some inexpensive family fun. When DVDs replaced those big, black, plastic tapes, basements were left with boxes and boxes of those old relics. The thought came to my mind as I drove past a Blockbuster video store that was having a ”Going Out of Business Sale.”
With the advent of movies “on demand” and mail order companies, those big box bonanzas are soon to be no more. Caught in a world of constant change and transformation, they no longer served a purpose to people like you and me.
In a world of change, it’s good that we have Lent — a season meant for you and me to think about change. As I write this message, Ash Wednesday is Feb. 14. For the next 40 days (excluding Sundays) I am going to be thinking about change and the habits that come with living our daily lives.
Sometimes I like change. Sometimes I don’t. Yet Lent is a way to remind us that the changes we most need to seek don’t begin or end with us alone — they need God. In an ancient prayer of David found in the psalms he says, “Search me, O God, know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path to everlasting life.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
There’s a lifetime of wisdom in just these two verses. David, the shepherd and King, asks God to do for him what he cannot do for himself — change him to be more like the person he was created to be for God. We call that sanctification. It means we’re not content just accepting the status quo, letting the world pass us by. God means for us to grow and develop. It’s the kind of change that God desires for you and me to experience in every season of our lives.
May you use this Lenten Season as a time to examine how you are changing. You may be changing for the better or for the worse. You are changing whether you realize it or not; so is everything around you — everything that is except God. Inspect your life. Closely. Do you like what you see? Do you think God likes what he sees in you? Ask for his help in areas that only God can heal, save, and redeem. May this Lenten season bring you many moments when you capture God’s grace, love, and mercy into your life. When you do, the “snapshots” of God you see will be ones to keep for a lifetime.
Steve Roth is the senior pastor at First United Methodist, 52 N. Main St., London. He can be reached at 740-852-0462 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Their website at www.londonfumc.org.
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