By Joel A Hess –
Christmastime haunts many with the past. Even the greenery, cheery songs, and presents depress them as they compare the present with the days when they were young, carefree, and full of wonder. Those were the good ole days! And it will never be quite the same.
Time and time again, we bemoan the good ole days! It was better when…. Life was good then…. I wish we could go back to… Those were the good ole days!
Napoleon Dynamite’s uncle best summed up this natural desire when he ordered a time machine online to return to when he was football hero in high school.
While dreaming of the past makes sense, Satan likes to convince us that it was better then and will only get worse. He especially does this concerning the Church. How many cults began by this temptation? Watch out for people who want to “go back to.” Joseph Smith, Mohammed, Charles Taze Russell, and many more began their versions of the Church because they concluded they needed to go back to the golden age before everything got “messed up.”
While many might not go as far as leaving Christianity proper, many today promote certain practices in order to go back to the golden age of Christendom. Just recently, I heard a locally televised pastor tell his audience that we should have services in people’s homes because that’s how they did it back then.
People promote High-Church practices because they reflect the golden age, and people promote COWO practices for the same reason. Others bemoan the time when the Church was popular in Western culture or even when the Church was persecuted.
If only we could go back to the Church in the first century, the golden age!
There was no golden age! There was no time when everything ran smoothly. There was no moment in the history of the Church when everyone got along, the worship was just right, and God was smiling on his throne. A quick read of the New Testament will reveal a Church that struggled inside and out. Amazingly, despite the foolishness of His people, God lifted up His countenance upon them and turned the world upside down.
Outside of the garden of Eden, there was no golden age of the Church. The Golden Age is coming. You ain’t seen nothing yet! Stop crying in your beer. Stop whining about the past. Stop living in your memories and treating the Church’s history as a fairytale with a pretty princess, evil wizard and prince charming. The Golden Age lies in Jesus. Where He is, there is the golden age—period.
Lift up your head and look forward. The holy catholic Church is an article of faith. We believe it exists, though we don’t see it all the time. Yet, one day we will see it. We will see the golden age of the Church when Christ comes again in glory. We will see people sharing everything perfectly. We will see people confessing truths flawlessly. We will see our Lord himself, and we will see our resurrected and holy selves with Him.