A couple years ago when Megan and I moved from an apartment into a house, we needed to have our satellite TV hooked up. The guy who installed the system was an older gentleman who I could tell just really loved his job. As I watched him putting it all together, he kept talking and telling stories the entire time.
When he finished configuring it he said, “All right. You ready for this? Now I’m going to show you how to use it.”
He was so excited and passionate about it that I didn’t dare tell him that it was the same exact system I had been using for the past five years. I was caught in a tension between two choices: “Do I waste this man’s time and let him tell me about all the features? Or do I just stop him and tell him I already know everything he’s about to show me?”
I didn’t have the heart to stop him, so I just let him start showing me everything. He had the whole script memorized. He was making jokes as he showed me how to access the menu, how to change the channels, how to turn the volume up and down.
But then, out of the blue, he pointed up across my room and he said, “Wait, what’s that?”
When I looked toward the ceiling where he was pointing, he said, “Oh I guess it was nothing.” But he had this really giddy smile on his face like a kid who can’t wait to spill the beans about something.
I looked back at the TV and noticed that he had it paused. Then in a very serious and dramatic voice he said, “Josh–welcome to the future. You can now pause live TV!”
He said it with such confidence that he could have just dropped the controller right there like a mic drop and walked away victorious.
It took everything within me to keep a straight face and pretend that my excitement matched his, as I said, “That is unbelievable!”
Again, I had been using that same system for the previous five years, so pausing live TV wasn’t anything new to me. But in that moment, it was as if this gentleman had just paused life; he was so excited! And I… well, I just had to pretend that I thought it was exciting as well.
The reason I wasn’t excited about pausing live TV was because it was old news to me. It had been a part of my reality for several years at that point.
However, if I were to bring myself back to the first day that I did witness the new technology that allows us to pause TV, I would have to admit that it really is a fascinating technology! It just didn’t seem as “futuristic” as it once did.
Here’s the deal:
We do this type of thing ALL. THE. TIME. We live in a fast-paced world where yesterday’s news might as well be last year’s news. The last person to become aware of a news story that has been circulating on social media for a matter of hours is deemed “out of the loop.”
Now think about how that affects the way we view stories of Scripture. If hour-old news is “old news,” then stories of Scripture become seen as so ancient they’re obsolete.
I think about the Easter story, in particular. When Jesus walked out of the grave, it was as if God paused all of life and said, “Welcome to the future.” As NT Wright likes to put it, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s perfect future came crashing into our present reality.
But to many of us, this story is either so familiar that it becomes a fairy-tale, or so old that it loses its factual integrity.
The truth is, it is a true story. Is it hard to believe? Yes. That’s what makes it so powerful! But we can’t lose sight of its power to transform our lives here, today.
Just like my experience pausing live TV, sometimes I wish I could return to the first time I really grasped the significance of the Gospel. Maybe then I could avoid my human tendency to allow the good news of Jesus Christ to become “old news” that has lost its impact.
And at that point of retrieving its original impact on my own life I would have no other choice but to tell the world about this thing called the Gospel, the good news of a God whose experience as a human and subsequent resurrection from the dead allowed God to essentially tell the world, “Welcome to the future.”
And then I might be able to say, “All right. You ready for this? Now I’m going to show you how to use it.”