Sermons

Summary: Nostalgia is a fatal disease, because the burdens of the past are idolatrous and wearisome, and will bring us down with them. But remember who God is and what His purpose is.

This past February I received a diagnosis, and, I’m sorry to

say, it’s serious. I have a disease, commonly fatal. If it is not

treated, it will destroy me, and I will gradually lose my

abilities. I’m telling you about it, because, if we do not take

some protective efforts, it will become contagious, and you

might get it too. I have a serious disease, and I think you

should be among the first to know about it.

Let me describe its symptoms, and then I’ll tell you its name.

First, it makes me very tired. Just worn out. When this

disease kicks in, I become too weary to work, too pooped to

play, and too bushed to bother. Just extremely tired.

Next, I am beginning to decline. I am looking like death

warmed over. I become moody and depressed and start

looking over my shoulder to see who’s coming to get me.

Something is coming to carry me home. I am declining.

And then there are the memory lapses. Not only will I be

tired out, and not only will everything bleed away, but in

addition I forget things. I forget some very important items.

Now I won’t forget everything; some things I remember very

well, and in fact, won’t be able to let go of. But other things I

forget, or, more likely, remember selectively. I remember

them, but not necessarily as they really are; I remember

enough to be frustrated and upset, but not enough to know

what I really ought to be doing. When this disease takes

over, there are whole days when I cannot recall the things

that matter the most, but I remember other things that I could

just as easily do without. I am able to tell you every phone

number of every place I’ve ever lived; but I won’t be able to

tell you who I am. Yes, it’s that bad.

By now you are beginning to think that you know what my

disease is. You’ve developed your own little amateur

diagnosis. I know I did last February when it hit me. I

developed a few pet theories.

I thought maybe I was experiencing senile dementia. You

know what that is; that’s just hifalutin’ language for “crazy old

man.” But no, I figured that wasn’t it; anybody who’s crazy

enough to have preached for forty years is already

demented. Nothing new. That wasn’t it.

And then I wondered about Alzheimer’s disease. That’s

making its way around these days. I’ve heard a lot about

Alzheimer’s. They say that if you have Alzheimer’s, you get

irritable and hard to live with. Well, no, that can’t be the

problem; again, that’s nothing new. I’ve been irritable ever

since I was ten years old and they made me practice the

piano instead of playing softball. And as for being hard to

live with, well, this coming Tuesday Margaret gets her 42nd

annual Purple Heart. Nothing new. That can’t be it.

If it isn’t dementia, and it isn’t Alzheimer’s, could it be

anemia? Tired blood? Not enough juice in the plumbing?

Not likely; I don’t really hemorrhage anything but money! No,

I’ll tell you exactly what I have. I know its name. I have its

number. I have a galloping, rollicking, chronic case of

nostalgia! Not neuralgia, not nausea, but nostalgia! I want

to go back to the way things used to be. I want somebody to

carry me back to old days, old times. That’s what I have!

Nostalgia, with a capital N and a deep desire for old ways,

old ideas, and old habits. Nostalgia – that insatiable and

wistful desire to get back to the way we were.

You know what that’s like. Brothers, we want cars with

running boards and spark plugs you can take out and set the

gap. Ladies, we want those old Sundays when we went to

church first thing in the morning, stayed until the afternoon,

ate gospel bird on the grounds, sat through more preaching

and singing in the evening, and did it all in our best bib and

tucker, hotter than firecrackers. We have a bad case of

nostalgia; we want the old ways. Carry me back to old!

The danger of being a senior – and that’s really what hit me

on the third of February – that mythical age 65 marker – the

danger of being a senior is that we struggle with change.

We fight against the changes in our own bodies, and we start

to resist everything. Something in us shouts, “Stop the

world, I want to get off!” Something says, “Carry me back to

old”, the place where I was born and the things I used to do.

But there is danger in that. Profound danger.

The prophet of the Exile, a disciple of the great Isaiah, so

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Talk about it...

Rita Sims

commented on Dec 6, 2013

This sermon: "Carry Me Back to Old" made all the difference in my life. This sermon helped when my last of 5 children moved out, and as a stay-at-home mom it was difficult. When I would get sad, I would quote: Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low... The Holy Spirit inspired this sermon.

Rita Sims

commented on Dec 6, 2013

This sermon: "Carry Me Back to Old" made all the difference in my life. This sermon helped when my last of 5 children moved out, and as a stay-at-home mom it was difficult. When I would get sad, I would quote: Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low... The Holy Spirit inspired this sermon.

John Lewis

commented on May 5, 2015

Really helpful insight into a difficult chapter.

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