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Jump-Start Your Day

Sunday, December 31st, '17

All rights reserved © message by Kris Jackson

 

ANOTHER OLD LONG SINCE

"Oh that I were as in months past...when his candle shined upon my head...when the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were about me, when...when..." (Job 29:2-6)

 

Could we think for a moment about way back when? Midnight tonight, barroom sots will drink scotch and pretend Scotch mouthing sing-along rounds to Burns' chorale line, "We'll take a cup 'o kindness yet, for auld lang syne". The soused theme tonight is the old long since. I'm not beating the pulpit on this one because I've sat on the barstool with them a good many times before meeting Christ. Tomorrow morning they'll watch Alka-seltzer fizz then face '06's arrival but for now they just want to retrogress. Paul told us to not look back but that needs qualifying. Jesus asked us to remember, as did Isaiah, Solomon, Moses, John and others. Too much has happened, good and bad, to just forget it all. The world parties New Year's Eve as much afraid of losing what is behind as in celebrating what is ahead. I can't blame them. They carry heavy loads and have never met the Burden-bearer. Memories are all they have, that brawl at O'Malley's, the year their ball club went to State, Lucy, Paul and Ringo, old Chevy convertibles, heartthrobs from high school and battle scars from Nam. Don't rob them of their old long since. Some are on their fourth marriages. Some are in a union spat. Mortgages are due Monday and many of them overspent on Santa. They just want one night to recapture something, what? It is so faint they don't even know what it is anymore, the old long since.

 

Pssst, I know what they are searching for. 'Cause when the tavern closes and they head home in separate cars some will break into a cry, some will scan the FM trying to find "Love Me Tender" or anything with a semblance of peace to it, and others will just slap the steering wheel thinking, "there's got to be more to it than this". Yep, I know what they are searching, it's a hunt for innocence, Christmases at Grandma's, wading in a pond, picking then blowing white dandelion tops, watching marshmallows become torches at a cub scout fire or catching fireflies in a Mason's jar. Life rushed by too fast and now they wonder where their souls have gone.

 

In our text Job romanticized of way back "when" eleven times. I always wondered what the old folks thought was so good about the good'le days. No, I'm not accepting senior discounts yet but there is something warming about nostalgia and the old long since. Dave and I speared carp when the creek backed up, played touch football on our river sandbar, dug our own potatoes and ate fresh sweet corn. Ahh, those were the days! But most of us couldn't wait to move to the city. Now we can't wait to get back to the country.

 

Why the unrest? It has nothing to do with the urban or the rural. It has to do with the soul. Believe it or not, tonight's craziness and tomorrow's hangover is the world's grasp for spirituality. You heard me right. They drink themselves into oblivion or try to go numb because numb is the closest they know how to get to innocence. The only hope some of them have is a small line that dreams, "we'll take a cup 'o kindness yet..." That is a small thread to tie a knot in but it is all they have. Listen to me, you are not alone in wanting to go back and start the whole thing over. Jesus offered Nicodemus a whole new clean slate. "Marvel not, that I said unto you, Ye must be born again" (John 3:7). Jesus is the only one that can fill that vacuum. Getting a new pet, rearranging the furniture, buying a red sports car or going back to the farm, none of those are solutions, only re-creations. The past is past. The old long since is long since gone. It can't be recreated, but it can be regenerated. Put the bottle down. Look to the empty tomb. Live in hope. Start making new memories. Let God's love wash you back into innocence. Dig through the clutter and find your soul again, the real you. Be born again. Then tomorrow will start looking better than yesterday. We will take the cup of kindness yet, that is the reach of faith. Now let's toast to hope (I only have grape juice).


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