Milk Bottles

November 21, 1999

Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (NRSV)

I have a small but growing collection of glass milk bottles. In fact my entire kitchen is filled with bits and pieces of dairy memorabilia. Most of it comes from my family's dairy and creamery business, which operated from the late 19th century until the 1970s. These objects serve to connect me to the farming and dairying life that my ancestors lived for over four generations.

My milk bottle collection also serves to remind me that human life changes over the years. When my great-grandfather, Sam Bisset, started selling milk with his sons in Goderich, Ontario, they used a horse-drawn wagon with cans on it. As the horse walked down the street, people came out with jugs or pitchers, and the required amount of milk was poured out of the big cans. In 1896 Sam heard of a great new item that was being used in the U.S.: glass milk bottles. Milk was put in them at the dairy, and the filled bottles were delivered to the customer's door. This seemed much more sanitary, so he had some bottles made, and Bisset's became the first dairy in Ontario to sell milk in this new way.

Of course, we don't get milk delivered to our homes in glass bottles anymore. Modern dairies have switched to plastic bags, cardboard cartons, and plastic jugs, which we buy at the grocery or convenience store. Life changes, in so many ways, with each passing generation.

But in the midst of all this change, God stays the same! When I go to church, it is to worship the same God that my great-grandfather worshipped. I pray to the same God that he did. The God who loved him, loves me also. And I know that, no matter how the world changes, the God who loves me will also love my great-grandchildren.

Prayer: Gracious God, change is all around us. New technologies arise so quickly that we find it hard to keep up. We thank you that you are a constant in our lives: never changing, never absent, and never failing. Amen.

About the author:

Alex Bisset <wabisset@rogers.com>
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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