I remember as a very young Christian attending Edgemead AoG before it became trendy to do so. Before Powerpoint presentations and sound systems and Hillsong (that’s how far back I go), there was Pastor Noel Cromhout and John Martin as elder in the congregation.
We would sing ye olde classic hymns that didn’t need drums and electric guitar and I think everyone was pleased with the arrangement. And though I never really spoke with elder John Martin, just from his demeanour at the pulpit and his general smoothness, I considered him a rock star and wanted one day to be like him. He has since fallen asleep and yet the memory of him remains to this day.
There’s something about experience in life and the perspective of having been through it that is genuine and timeless. Just this past weekend I was reviewing the singing scenes from ‘The Sound of Music’ with my daughter, who has yet to enjoy some of the classics that I intend to introduce her to. In one scene Fraulein Maria is dancing with Captain von Trapp and the subtleties of their reaction to each other speak volumes. She gets red-faced dancing with a man that she has feelings for. How demure, how realistic if you compare it with the ham-fisted, overbearing and over-the-top way of telling stories in movies nowadays. Bad writing, CGI and near-porn is not art, no matter the budget. Several films spring to mind.
I reckon that’s why people love the classics. They have stood the test of time and date well. I also think of Clint Eastwood’s classic, ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales’ where the script writer came up with pearls that are quotable today, and so much more appropriate than our rap culture type of language today that relies on profanities beginning with an ‘s’ or an ‘f’.
From the movie:
Senator: Fletcher, there’s an old saying, to the victors belong the spoils.
Fletcher: There’s another old saying Senator. Don’t [pee] down my back and tell me it’s raining.
Bounty hunter #1: You’re wanted, Wales.
Josey Wales: Reckon I’m right popular. You a bounty hunter?
Bounty hunter #1: A man’s got to do something for a living these days.
Josey Wales: Dyin’ ain’t much of a living, boy.
Grandma Sarah: This Mr. Wales is a cold-blooded killer. He’s from Missouri, where they’re all known to be killers of innocent men, women and children.
Lone Watie: Would you rather be riding with Comancheros, Granny?
Grandma Sarah: No, I wouldn’t.
The 1993 movie ‘In The Line of Fire’ feature’s Eastwood’s character trying to get his law enforcement partner to bring back an old-fashioned word: cockamamie. Everything about Eastwood in that movie is classic.
I appreciate very much the old timers that have been through it all and have heaps of experience but almost zero the arrogance; I could only hope to be as wise some day.
Proverbs 4 advises that wisdom is really important (and from my limited experience, superior to mere knowledge):
4 My children,[a] listen when your father corrects you.
Pay attention and learn good judgment,
2 for I am giving you good guidance.
Don’t turn away from my instructions.
3 For I, too, was once my father’s son,
tenderly loved as my mother’s only child.
4 My father taught me,
“Take my words to heart.
Follow my commands, and you will live.
5 Get wisdom; develop good judgment.
Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.
6 Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.
Love her, and she will guard you.
7 Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!
And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.
8 If you prize wisdom, she will make you great.
Embrace her, and she will honor you.
9 She will place a lovely wreath on your head;
she will present you with a beautiful crown.”
Of course the acquiring of wisdom comes at a cost of life experiences; failures and first chances squandered so that second chances take on new meaning, learning the lesson that only He is really in control, that our ability to manipulate things is illusory.
He is the one we should always look to…and I’ve found that the old timers are great reflections of the fear of the Lord, the beginning of wisdom;
As Fraulein Maria says: When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.