Last night our Year 12 class graduated. It made me think of when I graduated in 1968 – 43 years ago. Even though, in the 1960s, change was in the wind, large numbers of people still attended church and Christian ethics and values were still the dominant cultural norm. However, life as we knew it was in for a radical shake up. A statistic that I remember was that in 1952 50% of all children attended Sunday School. By 1972 this had fallen to 12%. In 1992 it was 3%. One can only guess at the depths to which it has plummeted to now.
Changes to the Family Law Act in the early 1970s saw divorce rates spiral. This in turn led to greater family dysfunction. The growing popularity of “recreational drugs” has had a huge impact on people. We can add numerous issues to the list such as homosexual lifestyles, the portrayal of sexuality on TV programmes and etc. Those of us who were around in 1968 have witnessed enormous social change, or more accurately, social disintegration in the last 43 years. Two of the few positive changes have included the reduction of young people dying on our roads and the greater tolerance to ethnic minorities.
But what will life be like when my students turn 61 in 2054, assuming the Lord hasn’t returned? I have indicated in past Posts that I believe 1 Peter is a portrayal of the conditions that will arise. Our children will need a resilient faith. They will need to be a people who, despite the conditions around them, see themselves as a “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.” In other words they will need to see their identity in Christ and not in buildings and petty divisions we have created. They will need to know how to live as “strangers” in this world. That, as it was for us, will be the big danger; the false and fatal allure of the world.
Pray for our children as they enter these years and live an example they can follow. Remind them that our God is faithful and “He will not tempt us beyond what we can bear” (1 Cor 10:13). He has also left His Spirit with us and in us as we journey for whatever number of years He gives us.