Earlier this year, my family and I unexpectedly discovered a 91-year-old time capsule in the cornerstone of our former church building. It was a pleasant surprise amid this Covid-dominated year! Recently, the time capsule was opened and our congregation was able to see what our church leaders of generations ago had left behind for us.
The time capsule appears to have been placed on Sept. 22, 1929, approximately a month before the stock market crash and the beginning of the Great Depression. The time capsule contained a newspaper, two small hymnals, and some handwritten documents, among other things. It also contained a couple newsletters.
One of those newsletters, The Northwestern Lutheran, published Sept. 15, 1929, contained the following article which caught my attention. Here are some of the highlights:
“A Crash Ahead? There are different kinds of crashes. Nations crash; families crash; individuals crash. Crashes come in different varieties: some are physical, some are financial, some are moral, some are mental, and so on. … Crashes often result when you give more attention to speed than to direction. … The same thought, with certain variations, strikes one of the authorities of to-day as he views world events in their mad rush:
‘A Crash Ahead: Lord Syndenham in a recent interview in London said ‘The rate at which the world is going now makes it utterly impossible for anyone to keep pace with events. It is my firm conviction that we are rapidly approaching that point when it will be impossible to find men to cope with the gigantic modern organizations that we are at present bringing into existence. The human brain will be incapable of handling them. I shall probably not live to see it, but this modern race of invention and development will result in a terrible crash.’ (Lord Sydenham is an authority on economic problems, whose opinion is highly valued. – Alliance Weekly)
Lord Syndenham evidently fears an economic crash, a disaster so great that it will make the greatest demands on the morale of the stricken to bear it. The Christian knows about crashes to come; they are not mere conjecture with him; the lips of Truth have said to him: ‘Behold I have told you before.’ The Christian knows, too, that when the last awful time breaks upon the world the economic aspect may be at its fairest, human progress at its highest peak of attainment, man’s ability and capacity for enjoying mere temporal things at its greatest – while true morality will be at its lowest ebb. There is no morality worth the name which leaves God out of account, nor can you take God into account correctly if you ignore His Word. Let us hear it, let us spread it, let us live it, – as a preparation for the crash to come.”
The words from the newsletter editor as well as the economist referenced proved to be somewhat “prophetic” as the global economy crashed mightily later that year.
2020 has witnessed its own economic crash, and the fallout from it continues to affect many lives and livelihoods. Other “crashes” will continue with time, whether of businesses, certain industries, or on more personal levels.
But the article points us beyond these to the last “crash” to come – the Last Day, when this present world will come crashing down, the Lord will return, the dead will be raised, all souls will be judged, and God will make all things new.
How do you even begin to prepare for such a day? The article simply and rightly answers, listen to God’s Word! “Let us hear it, let us spread it, let us live it!”
Trust the message of God’s Word, the Good News of what Jesus endured for you, as this sinful world came crashing down upon Him, crushing Him on the cross beneath the weight of our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5). And treasure the still better news that Jesus rose from death and the grave for you, vanquishing them and securing new and eternal life for all who believe in Him. In Jesus you are secure, come what may.
A Prayer: Lord, You alone know what “crashes” the future holds. Yet we know that You will hold unto us both now and through all the days to come. Looking to Jesus, may we prepare for the future by living faithfully today. Help us to slow down in this fast-paced world to hear, treasure, and spread Your Word of eternal life. Amen.