By Joel A. Hess –
Last week, I was blasting Bruce Springsteen as I drove to a hospital in a nearby town to visit a sister in the hospital. He was singing “Glory Days.” Do you know the song? If you don’t, I’ll bet you know the feeling
I had a friend was a big baseball player
back in high school
He could throw that speedball by you
Make you look like a fool boy
Saw him the other night at this roadside bar
I was walking in, he was walking out
We went back inside sat down had a few drinks
but all he kept talking about was
Glory days well they’ll pass you by
Glory days in the wink of a young girl’s eye
Glory days, glory days
You know that feeling, don’t you? Maybe some of you start reminiscing about the good ol’ days this time of year as you attend a high school graduation party. Boy, wouldn’t you like to go back in time?
Sometimes Christians talk about the Church like that, too. I hear so many whining about how hard it is to be a Christian in America these days. Blog after blog promotes fear of the future. This past Pentecost Sunday, many of us listened to Luke’s account of the Holy Spirit moving and shaking the world in Acts. Everything clicked, right? The Church was created, the Good News of Jesus was proclaimed, and disciples were being made by the thousands. Or maybe some of us just think back to when we were young and things seemed easier. We all fit in, right? The Church of God was held in high esteem by the community. The community streamed into the pews, and everyone enjoyed an afternoon picnic while the kids played in the church softball league. Ah, the glory days of Christianity, we sigh.
Well, stop whining about the Glory days. Just like many of your heavily edited memories, it wasn’t so great back then! The glory days weren’t in the first century AD any more than they were in 1953. Often times, we create fantasies of our past that don’t really match what life was truly like. Sin and Satan were just as busy tormenting God’s people and His mission 50 years ago as they are now. There were just as many seemingly huge obstacles to the growth of God’s community in 116 AD as there are in 2016. I promise you, there is nothing new under the sun. Mankind just gets more boring, quite frankly.
Christ is still risen!
The new day is still dawning, and the night is fading!
The Church has survived haters on the outside and false teachers on the inside for 2000 years! Kingdoms, philosophies, “new” moralities—religions have come and gone.
The glory days of Christianity and of the Church are not behind us. They are ahead of us!
God is moving and shaking today: Every time you receive the body and blood of Jesus and hear His words of mercy. Every time you see a sinner baptized in Jesus name. Every time, a man is cut to the heart by God’s word and is healed by Christ’s forgiveness. Every time God’s people share generously with each other let alone their neighbors.
These are the Glory Days.
So stop whining about how great the past was. Stop crying about how crazy the world is. Have you forgotten the treasure you have at your disposal? Jesus told the Jews in John chapter 8, “If anyone keeps my Word, he will never taste death.” Wow! That’s simply insane if it wasn’t true. We have Jesus’ Word. It’s like kryptonite to Satan and all the bombarding sin and stupidity.
Stop staring into your half-full, half-empty glass, and start swinging His two edge sword around. Stop sharing stories about times long gone, and start looking forward to the future, standing in Christ’s Righteousness, filled with God’s Spirit, and walking closer to the Resurrection.
I love Springsteen’s last line:
Think I’m going down to the well tonight and I’m gonna drink till I get my fill
And I hope when I get old I don’t sit around thinking about it, but I probably will
Yeah just sitting back trying to recapture a little of the glory of
Well but time slips away and leaves you with nothing mister but boring stories of