Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Something Borrowed, Something New

I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. --excerpt from Isaiah 43: 16-21

One of my new favorite TV shows is called "Something Borrowed, Something New." In the course of a half-hour episode, we see a bride shop for a new wedding gown and also oversee the alteration of an old wedding gown borrowed from a loved one. In the end the bride must choose: will she wear a brand-new gown all her own, or opt for the (re-fashioned) old gown? In either case, the bride in question will both embrace tradition (because she is getting married, and wearing a traditional style gown) and reject it (because even the old gowns are vastly changed during the course of the show.)

Our lives are filled with choices like this: will we recover our old sofa or replace it? Will we try to get a promotion at work or seek out new opportunities elsewhere? Will we seek to revitalize our relationship with our current romantic partner or return to the single life? Life does not stand still. No matter how much we love the past and enjoy the present, we must continually accept changes that come our way.

In the show, embracing a more drastic change (here represented as a new wedding gown) tends to be easier for the young brides and their young friends than for their parents. Some mothers of the bride cry when the seamstress begins ripping up the old wedding gown to re-fashion it to better fit and suit the bride. At these times the bride tends to smile with delight to see how even little changes can begin to make an old, out-of-style garment seem more fashionable. The entire drama is kind of a metaphor for the real change the show is about--the fact that this marriage marks the symbolic end of childhood and a permanent change to the family dynamic.

This trend is also common in church life. The young people in a church often embrace change, while older church members tend to resist it. To a certain extent, the older church members need to reign in the impulses of youngsters. It can take a long time to fully understand the wisdom of the tried and true. And to a certain extent, older people need young people to help them continually re-evaluate which practices are truly timeless and which are merely fads that can pass away without harming what is essential.

In short, the generations need each other. I'm guessing that Isaiah's "new thing" is kind of like new wedding dresses--new and different, but not so new and different as to seem unrecognizable.

No comments:

Post a Comment