A huge England flag hangs down from the tiny latticed upstairs window of an 18th century thatched cottage. In the fields around the cottage haymaking is in full swing. Has a bare-chested Ross Poldark been scythe-swiping? Alas, no. Presumably the cottage’s owner is a football fan, hooked on the World Cup and awaiting England’s game on Tuesday. And the haymaking? Done by the machinery and skill of a 21st century farmer.

Modern communication means we can follow the fortunes (often literal fortunes) of sportsmen and women around the globe. You don’t even have to sit at home to watch on TV. Your phone or other mobile device makes it easy to view where and when you like – and shrinks the globe at the same time.

What would the original occupant of that thatched cottage make of today’s local and global world? Would he be bewildered, terrified, amazed…? And what about us? Do we hanker for the simplicity and parochialism – and, yes, toughness – of Winston Graham’s Cornwall or Thomas Hardy’s Wessex?

In changing times – and life continuously evolves – we may thank God that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Are you scared about the pace at which ‘progress’ advances? Be reassured by the stability and unchanging nature of God. Jesus identified with the people and culture of his time, using everyday happenings and observations of life to illustrate his teaching. If he were here today, think how football, technology and flags might feature…

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