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?


Sandee said...

That was one heck of a mid-week prayer meeting I tell ya.

I'm glad you found humor in my post about my upcoming cruise. I don't always recycle jokes. Every now and then I actually do a post about what we are doing.

Have a terrific day and thanks for your visit. :)

Sheila said...

I think I must belong to the unrepentant sinners category. I hope that doesn't require any counselling, private or otherwise. I most sincerely hope that.

SilverNeurotic said...

I love that song, though, I admit, the version I listen to most often is the Pearl Jam one.

Vicar Ezra said...

Thank you Sandee. If only we could get you to be regular here. :)

I hope you aren't really upset at vicar's innocent comment on your delightful blog. We assure you it was only meant to be mean and sarcastic. I mean "all in fun."

Vicar Ezra said...

Sheila, I was thinking more like Amen Corner, though a little initial counseling will probably be required. :)

Vicar Ezra said...

SilverNeurotic, Pearl Jam is much too competent and professional. They are GOOD, in fact. Whereas Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers were never allowed in a recording studio ever again. How they have an album of greatest hits is one of life's unexplained mysteries. I'm afraid your taste in music may be a bit too classy for this blog. :)

Linda said...

I popped in to see if I could ascertain what it was you may have been trying to flee Boston from in regards to the comment you left on my I-95 post and I found myself quite enraptured by your sermon. It certainly hits home the message of "always go right and you can never go wrong" or at the very least end up singing a song wondering where your baby might be when you know full well where your baby has gone and how he/she got there.

How quickly people blame the Lord for their miseries ("the Lord took her away from me") rather than acknowledge that it was their own action - or inaction - that caused the final outcome; that it is THEY themselves and not the Lord who is to blame; and that the Lord thy God is not a mighty scapegoat though He certainly put the sheep on the left and the goats on the right (can I get a hallelujah!)

I shall look forward to your next sermon from the book of Meat Loaf and pray fervently that you touch onto the glory of Paradise as seen by the dashboard light!

Vicar Ezra said...

Hello, Miss Linda. I wish I might be privileged to explain my fleeing Boston, but that was before I found eternal victory, and the explaining might lead the tender ones astray. I especially think it would be a bit to shocking for your own delicate sensibilities, which are so easy to deduce from your lilting soft tones.

The things that go on by the light of the dashboard glow are perhaps best left unsaid in a sermon, as repentance is often not high in the mind's priorities of the sinner at that time. Perhaps "surrender" will be touched upon at some future date.

I have taken the liberty of placing your name in nomination to the church board for a seat in the Amen Corner. Thank you for coming my child.