Monday, July 01, 2013

Hold to His God's Unchanging Hand.

My great-great grandfather (William Samuel Herndon) was a Church of Christ preacher and church planter back in the mid 1800's. He moved his family to West Texas and planted a church that would soon his family did. (They ended up with 14 kids. I mean seriously.) 

The woman to your right in this picture is my great-great-great grandmother...born in the early 1800s.) My great grandmother is the one over William's left shoulder. She learned to love Jesus from her parents and she passed it down to my grandmother and then my mother. I'll bet things looked different back in the 1800s, don't you? 

This past Sunday we did an exercise in nostalgia and actually took out the hymnals and turned to #613 and sang "Hold to God's Unchanging Hand". It's a song my mother, grandmother and even great grandmother would have sung, written in 1904. Funny how songs with good theology form us. Those lyrics...verse one and chorus especially...are important. Funny to think that words sung so long ago could help all of we move into the church of the future. 

The song says, "Time is filled with swift transition...keep your hopes on things eternal. Hold to God's unchanging hand." Forms will come and forms will go. But the love of Jesus is everlasting. It is an everlasting love and his power is never ending. 

In her later years, my great grandmother went to Central Church of Christ here in Abilene. It later dwindled out and the building was given to Highland and it now serves as our Grace Fellowship campus. Interestingly, I remember walking in one day to rehearse with the worship band for our service that Sunday and stopped in my tracks. I looked around at the red carpet and the wooden ceiling and realized....this was my great grandmother's church. This is where she worshiped. And now, 150 years after William Herndon planted a church near Anson and then exploded the population with his own offspring, his great-great grandson is leading worship...instrumental the church his daughter attended well into her 90s. 

So, what is eternal? Buildings? Song books? Red carpet? Certain hymns or styles of worship? No. Jesus. The same yesterday, today and forever. The Alpha and Omega. And I hope that William Herndon's love for Jesus will live on in his great-great-great grandchildren and Maddie is already leading worship with the youth band every Sunday morning at Highland in the middle school class. 

I pray that, as Psalm 145 says, "One generation will commend His works to another...and tell of His surpassing greatness." Keep your hopes on things ETERNAL. Hold to God's unchanging hand.

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