"The More Things Change..." - Ecclesiastes 1:1-18
What is popular today? 15-25-year-olds, I’M TALKING TO YOU! After all, you are the trendsetters! Sure, you might be influenced by people of other ages, but YOU determine what is popular and what is not. So, again I ask you, what is popular?
When it comes to music, Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars have crossed many generation lines. However, it was the 15-25-year-olds that made it popular. And, like most things like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, once your parents have caught up, it is no longer as desirable. At the movies, super hero movies and animated films lead the way along with flicks like Cinderella. When it comes to appearance, beards are on most guys’ faces (if they can grow them, that is). Also for guys, Chacos or Sperry’s, retro t-shirts or button-ups, and Chubbies seem to be the apparel of choice, depending on the venue, of course.
With the help of Starbucks, and places of the like, coffee and coffee houses have become more popular among 15-25. This was definitely not the case back in my day (yes, I just said, “back in my day”). Coffee was something reserved for adults, with which I did not want to be associated, just yet. Also, Ultimate Frisbee and Disc Golf were not really on the scene like they are today.
But, what about when it comes to religion? For 15 – 25-year-olds, if you attend church, the trend seems to be going to a large church with great music and fun stuff, but with the comfort of small group options. If you happen to be on the other spectrum, I’ve actually seen a movement away from “Non-denominational” to more mainline and more traditional church service. If you do not attend church, you might be siding with the “Spiritual-but-not-religious” crowd because you are not about the institution of church.
So, 15-25-year-olds, I have to let you in on something…the more things change, "the more they stay the same." Although there might be some new facets, it’s pretty much the same cycle of what is popular and what is not.
In Ecclesiastes 1:1-18, we read that this phenomenon is something human culture has been dealing with for quite some time. The author goes as far to say, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity! What do people gain from all the toil at which they toil under the sun? What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun.” Basically, the author suggests that everything is meaningless. So, why chase after the latest new thing, if there is nothing really new?
Starting with Palm Sunday, we enter into Holy Week in the Christian calendar. Soon we will come upon the celebration of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. How do we keep this popular and relevant in today’s society and culture 2,000 years later? The story is the same; nothing has changed in all this time. So, how can we keep it exciting and meaningful today?
The fact that Jesus and the Gospel message have remained long after passing fads in history is extremely meaningful. After all, Jesus is our everlasting corner stone, rock, and redeemer! We can cling to Jesus in this rapidly-changing world because we know he will be here longer than anything else. Jesus remains relevant today because we need this savior in our lives just as much, if not more, now than ever before.
As far as keeping Jesus, the Gospel message, and Holy Week exciting, that is up to you, my friend. Yes, 15-25-year-olds, I’m talking to you. I challenge you to not only attend a service at a church near you, but to be fully present when you do attend. This will allow you to journey with Jesus through Maundy Thursday (the Last Supper) to Good Friday (the crucifixion) and finally arriving at Easter Sunday (the resurrection). You see, it is not Jesus, the Gospel message, or Holy Week that needs to change…it is us! The message is not only good, but it is ever-lasting. It can and does give new hope and new life every time it is relayed and lived out on this earth. If only the messenger (YOU) will allow the power of the Gospel message to take hold, the very earth can and will shake! You can make a difference. Through Jesus Christ, you have more power than you can even fathom. So, I ask you one more time, what is popular? It truly is up to you.