Year C Epiphany 3 Luke 4 2013
1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
Anyone here love "antiques?" How about "Antiques Road Show?" Did you know it's been around for 36 years, since 1977?
[This would be a good time to facilitate a short time of interaction with the congregation over their favorite "antiques," their favorite shows dealing with "antiques," what the difference is between "antiques" and "collectives," etc.]
"Antiques" and "collectibles" have value because they have survived intact for a long period of time. With the exception of those few things that are made of gold or silver or precious gemstones, the value in most "old stuff" is mostly found in the simple fact that they are still around. Except for the ravages of the plagues like the Black Death pandemic, which killed between 75 million and 200 million people, the biggest and most frequent destructive force in civilization has always been fire.
Washington D.C. burned.
San Francisco burned.
For "stuff" to survive these infernos was no small feat. And it makes them valuable.
Then there is the human factor.
Is there anyone who doesn't have this shuddering memory: you're drying a dish, moving a knickknack, or blundering into a piece of furniture -- and suddenly it happens: you watch almost in slow motion as some precious bit of china, some heirloom brick-a-brac, some priceless treasure goes sliding into the abyss. As it slipped from your hands or went sliding off the table, you knew what was about to happen, but were helpless to stop it. Gravity doesn't negotiate. Crash! In an instant a treasured family heirloom is reduced to pathetic pieces.
In today's throwaway culture of planned obsolescence, with instantly outdated plastic and cardboard, "broken stuff" gets routed to the "round file" (the trash can) as quickly as last year's electronics. Artisans of restorations and repair craftsmen are increasingly hard to find. Unless whatever has been damaged was extremely valuable, it is usually not worth the investment to fix it.
Thankfully that has not always been the case...