This picture, recently unearthed by one of my sisters, had to have been taken after school, probably in the spring of 1963. I'm there with two of my sisters, Betsy and Kathy. That's when Kathy, the sister on the horse, would have turned three. Betsy would have been six and I would have been nine. (Two more siblings, a girl, Dianne, and a boy, Marty, would follow, in 1965 and 1967, respectively.)
I'm sure the picture was snapped some day after school because Betsy and I were dressed in our "school clothes," though, by today's lights, we may seem to be overdressed for school. But because the shirt is patterned, it's not one I would have worn to church on a Sunday morning. That would have required a tie and a sportcoat. And because I was such a nerd (and still am), had this been taken on a Sunday after church, I would have insisted on keeping my tie on until I changed into "play clothes."
"Play clothes" never included jeans in those days, either for me or for most of my friends. I doubt that I had a pair of denims until I was in junior high school. Throughout my public school years, and this was common, I never wore jeans or tennis shoes to school.
They weren't allowed. A student back then only wore tennis shoes for gym class in junior and senior high years. We played ball at recess or, in rare designated times for physical education during the elementary years, in our dress shoes. (No kidding!)
A rite of each fall before school began on the Tuesday after Labor Day was buying a new pair of dress shoes to wear to school each day. Your parents hoped that your feet didn't grow too much and that, somehow, the shoes would last you through the school year.
That was just how we rolled back then.
Today, when my work day is ended, I take off my sport coat, clerical collar, and dress pants and slip into jeans or sweats and a polo. Dress shoes went the way of the dodo bird for me long ago; for years, I've worn "old men's shoes" from SAS.
It's interesting to note the ways in which people's dress have changed over the years since my own parents were born.
For example, check out this picture of a crowd of baseball fans from the 1930s:
Notice the men in dress shirts and ties?
And, I recall, that even in the 50s and 60s, when my grandmother and mother used to take us to the downtown Lazarus department store in Columbus to shop for school clothes, shirt, tie, and sportcoat were required for me and "dressier" dresses and patent leather shoes for my sisters. These trips were major and more formal outings. Not exactly what you wear when you go to Walmart these days.
The picture below shows typical moms (honestly) with kids in tow, walking through the Lazarus air door on North High Street, sometime in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Over all, I prefer 2017 to that long-ago world. Most of the changes through the decades have been good, I think.
Yet, we still live in the same roiling, boisterous, beautiful, sin-plagued world that's always been. We make progress in one field, we fall in others. Different sins go in and out of style, changing as certainly as the styling of our clothes.
Everything about this world, changed or not, should be held onto loosely.
Why? Because this world isn't all there is or that God has in mind for us. God made it perfect. But we messed it up. We became messed up.
Which is why God took on flesh in the Person of Jesus Christ to take our rightful death sentence for sin on a cross, then rose to open eternity with God to all who turn from sin and trust in Christ as their only God and Savior.
One day, Jesus will bring this creation to an end and invite all who have trusted Him into the new, eternal creation--like this world except that it will be perfect, devoid of sin, death, hatred, war, racism, oppression, injustice, sorrow, grieving, or tears.
Peter's call to believers in Christ seems more relevant to me than ever:
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (1 Peter 2:11-12)I pray that the God I know in Jesus Christ will help me to live a life so focused on Him that, whatever changes, superficial or deep, may fall on this world or to my own life, I will keep on trusting Christ as my only hope.
Nothing else matters.
[Blogger Mark Daniels is pastor of Living Water Lutheran Church in Centerville, Ohio.]