Sunday, July 11, 2010

IS 2 out of 3 really good enough?

Today's sermon also comes from the Book of Meat Loaf, verse Ain't No Way:

The snow is really piling up outside, I wish you wouldn't make me leave here.
You've been cold to me so long I'm crying icicles instead of tears.
You'll never find your gold on a sandy beach
You'll never drill for oil on a city street
You're looking for a ruby in a mound of rocks


There ain't no Coupe de Ville hiding at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box.

Amen! Truer words have never been mumbled by a rock star!

Children, I know some of you are confused as to what brother Meat is trying to say here, but if we take the time to ponder his wisdom it becomes very clear. The whole passage is just another way of saying, "You don't love me and I don't love you and we ain't no good for each other baby." To be sure, it's better for a woman to be rejected in love than to be killed in a defective car on a railroad track. No one would disagree with that.

However, when you WANT somebody, and you NEED somebody, but you are NEVER gonna love somebody, then that is only 2 out of 3. Two out of three IS bad, and we want to be GOOD.

Of course it is obvious that The Loaf is talking about the temptations of the flesh and is putting forth the question of whether being two-thirds GOOD will be enough to open those pearly gates for us when the time comes.

Children, it sounds almost plausible, but that is a lie from HELL! In order to make it to heaven, you have to be ALL GOOD! hallelujah!

St. Meat couldn't get this girl out of his heart. Of course he is talking about sin and not a girl.

"And though I know I will never get her out of my heart..." Yes! Meat was shackled by sin! Meat knew he should be 100% GOOD, but just couldn't get her (sin) out of his heart.

I know you are thinking that Mr. Loaf would have done well to contact St. Brian Wilson's spiritual leader, Rhonda. Rhonda helped HIM get sin (his old girlfriend) out of his heart. Amen. And maybe Rhonda could have helped St. Meat as well. Maybe RHONDA can help YOU become GOOD!

Yes, maybe you should just get down on your knees and say, "Help me, Rhonda, help help me Rhonda, help me Rhonda, please... get 'her' out of my heart."

Two out of three just doesn't cut it. Let us pray.

Those of you who brought your $100 dollar bills for our current "Heavenly Faith" project, be sure and leave them in the lockbox by the door. Thank you for coming to church this morning, children. Coming, and giving, makes you GOOD.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Is there REALLY an escape from hell?

I want to thank you all for coming to church this Sunday morning 4th of July and postponing your Independence Day barbecues and sundry debaucheries. Amen.

My sermon this morning is on "What Hell is Like": Do You REALLY want to end up there? If not, stop being bad and start being GOOD."

I'll take my text today from the book of Meat Loaf, chapter: Bat Out Of, Verse: Hell.

"When the night is over, like a bat out of hell I'll be gone gone gone. Like a bat out of hell I'll be gone when the morning comes. But when the day is done and the sun goes down and moonlight's shining through, then like a sinner before the gates of heaven I'll come crawling on back to you."

Oh, Lord!

You see, Mr. Loaf knew he couldn't REALLY escape from an eternity in hell, just because his bike was hot and fast.

Some say Hell is a valley. The valley of death? Perhaps. Some say Hell is really the San Fernando Valley. Many make the attempt to escape the San Fernando Valley, but few succeed in the attempt. I think that is what Mr. Loaf was singing about as he described the hell that was the Valley, and the lost souls who inhabited it.

Exactly how terrifying is the hell of the SF Valley on a Saturday night? St. Meat tells us in no uncertain terms in the next verse:

"The sirens are screaming and the fires are howling way down in the valley tonight! There's a man [a type of demon, no doubt] in the shadows with a gun in his eye and a blade shining oh so bright. There's evil in the air and there's thunder in the sky and a killer's on the bloodshot streets."

The terrible account goes on to talk about the dead(ly) rising down in the tunnel and boys going down in the gutter and starting to foam in the heat. Mercy. Hell is just unimaginable.

Well, there is one good girl in hell - there always is, isn't there? - and the poor man described by St. Meat latched on to her for the night. I guess she wasn't all that GOOD really, after all. Else she would not have been in Hell to begin with, it must be supposed.

I see some of you are beginning to sneak looks at your watches and the door, so I will hurry to conclude: escaping from Hell is a pipe dream. There is no escaping when you are there, good girl or no good girl; hot motorcycle or no hot motorcycle; boys going down in the gutter or .... well, I think you get the picture.

No, the trick is to avoid Hell in the first place. To do that, you must be GOOD.

Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend, my children.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

You gotta be good

[Midweek prayer meeting, Wednesday evening, June 30, 2010]

I want to take the text for my sermon this evening from the book of Oldies but Oldies, chapter Frank Wilson, verse Last Kiss:

"Well, where oh where can my baby be?
The Lord took her away from me.
She's gone to heaven so I got to be good
So I can see my baby when I leave
This world."

"Where oh where can my baby be?" How often have we all asked this very question of ourselves as the uncertainties of life from time to time makes our night too lonely, and our road a bit too long? Perhaps, in despair, we think that love is only for the lucky and the strong.

But, you see, Frank KNEW where his baby had gone. Of course he did. For it was Frank himself who had just KILLED his baby by driving a poorly-maintained automobile that flat out STALLED on the railroad tracks. Amen.

How many of us - if we are honest enough to admit it - are in reality no better than Frank?

Now, I know there are those of you who might quickly say that I have it wrong, that Frank was driving his DADDY'S car, that it was ANOTHER car that was poorly maintained and had stalled on the railroad tracks. But when the chips are down in this world, and we are called upon by our maker to DO THE RIGHT THING and when we just GOTTA BE GOOD, the cold hard reality is that it was FRANK who slammed into that stalled car and killed his baby in the process!

True, at the last moment Frank TRIED to go right, but he had already waited too long. How many sitting here tonight under the sound of my voice want to be prepared to swerve right EARLY ON and not wait until it is too late to change your disastrous course? Yes. God bless you.

No, none of us want to kill our baby. FRANK didn't want to kill his baby either. But he had waited too long to go right and amidst the cryin' tires and bustin' glass, it was his baby's painful SCREAMS that he heard last. Mercy.

Yes, the Lord took her away from Frank. What else could the Lord DO under those circumstances? The Lord didn't WANT to take her away from Frank. The Lord was FORCED to take her away because of Frank's roving hands and inattentiveness to the road ahead, as the rain was apourin' down.

[Here cue soft music bed: "Have Thine Own Way, Lord" sung by John Fogerty]

Yes. Like it or not friends, the Lord WILL have his own way if we don't go right. But, you know, there's a new day and a bright tomorrow, and, one day, Frank CAN see his baby again... if he stays right. If he's GOOD.

Like the prophet Tom Jones, Frank can walk down the lane with his sweet Mary, or whatever Frank's baby's name was, hair of gold and lips like cherries, and it will be GOOD to touch the green green grass of home. Glory.

Please rise.

[Congregations sings]

Well, where, oh, where can my baby be?

The Lord took her away from me.

She's gone to Heaven so I got to be good

So that I can see my baby when I leave

This world.

We were out on a date in my daddy's car.

We hadn't driven very far.

There in the road, straight ahead,

A car was stalled. The engine was dead.

I couldn't stop so I swerved to the right.

I'll never forget the sound that night;

The cryin' tires, the bustin' glass,

The painful scream that I

Heard last.

Well, where, oh, where can my baby be?

The Lord took her away from me.

She's gone to Heaven so I got to be good

So that I can see my baby when I leave

A-this world.

Well, when I woke up, the rain was pourin' down.

There were people standing all around.

Somethin' warm running in my eyes, [Baby's father was pissing down on his face]

But I found my baby somehow that night.

I raised her head and then she smiled and said,

"Hold me, darling, for a little while."

I held her close. I kissed her our last kiss.

I found the love that I knew I would miss,

But now she's gone even though I hold her tight.

I lost my love, my life,

That night.

Well, where, oh, where can my baby be?

The Lord took her away from me.

She's gone to Heaven so I got to be good

So that I can see my baby when I leave

A-this world.


—Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers "Last Kiss"

[Next: Sunday morning, July 4, 2010. From the book of Meat Loaf, "Bat Out Of Hell". Please join us, won't you?