Monday, January 01, 2007

I Predict . . .

Cindy Mercer Photography

The sun has set on 2006 and risen to 2007. Do you remember past predictions?

Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for further developments. Julius Sextus Frontinus, Roman engineer, A.D. 10.

Despite the trend to compactness and lower costs, it is unlikely everyone will have his own computer any time soon.Reporter Stanley Penn, The Wall Street Journal, 1966.

By the turn of this century, we will live in a paperless society. Roger Smith, chairman of General Motors, 1986.

Aldus Huxley, in Brave New World, envisioned a freer world where everyone would take mood-enhancing drugs and babies would concocted in giant laboratories.

In 1966, Arthur C. Clarke wrote in Vogue magazine that houses would fly by 2001. He thought entire communities would head south for the winter or move to new locations for a change of scenery.

In 1823, British scientist, Dionysius Lardner, warned that rail travel at high speeds was not possible because “passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia.”

Captain E.J. Smith of the Titanic said, “I cannot imagine any condition which could cause this ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that.”

In 1979, Business Week asserted that “with over 50 foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn’t likely to carve out a big slice of the U.S. market.”

In 1893, Mary E. Lease predicted that within the next 100 years “we would hold communication with the inhabitants of other planets, and Sunday excursions to the mountains of the moon will not excite comment.”

You get the point. The consistent emphasis in Scripture is preparation not prediction. “Watch therefore,” Jesus told the disciples, “for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Matthew 25:13).

I am still reflecting upon a sentence I read several years ago: “[Jonathan] Edwards spent his whole life preparing to die.” This sobering statement is the first sentence from the final chapter of George Marsden’s magisterial biography, Jonathan Edwards: A Life.

Marsden continues, “Edwards worked constantly to cultivate gratitude, praise, worship, and dependence upon his Savior. Whatever his failings, he attempted every day to see Christ’s love in all things, to walk according to God’s precepts, and to give up attachments to worldly pleasures in anticipation of that closer spiritual union that death would bring.”

As Ligon so poignantly reminded us in our Watch Night service last night, as you prepare for a new year, consider this stunning entry from Edwards’ diary:

“Saturday, Jan. 12. In the morning. I have this day, solemnly renewed my baptismal covenant and self-dedication, which I renewed, when I was taken into the communion of the church. I have been before God, and have given myself, all that I am and have, to God; so that I am not, in any respect, my own. I can challenge no right in this understanding, this will, these affections, which are in me. Neither have I any right to this body, or any of its members — no right to this tongue, these hands, these feet; no right to these senses, these eyes, these ears, this smell, or this taste. I have given myself clear away, and have not retained any thing, as my own. I gave myself to God, in my baptism, and I have been this morning to him, and told him, that I gave myself wholly to him. . . . This, I have done; and I pray God, for the sake of Christ, to look upon it as a self-dedication, and to receive me now, as entirely his own, and to deal with me, in all respects, as such, whether he afflicts me, or prospers me, or whatever he pleases to do with me, who am his.”

Amen. Happy New Year!


pilgrim said...

Happy New Year.

That line on preparation not prediction hits it right on the head.

Anonymous said...

Too bad this was written before Pat Robertson made his latest prediction for 2007; you could have included it in your listing of predictions.

JD said...

What was Robertson's prediction?