Not long ago, I was fiddling around on You Tube, and found some music. Glorious stuff, I tell you. Back in the mid 1970's I had an Ozark Mountain Daredevil's album (on vinyl!). How I loved that music... Forty years ago, back when in high school; this was my idea of "beautiful". And after decades of not-hearing; what sort of review have we? Wow, what a great little surprise to hear it all again! Like meeting an old friend, like reliving a time of sanity and peace. It is a "golden moment".
The Daredevils were never a "big" group, which (to my thinking) was a recommendation in itself. The only song that they ever made any money with, was "Jackie Blue". It stank, and was very unlike most of their stuff. How very "like me", to reject the only "popular" song they ever did! I wasn't a Christian believer back then, but believer or no, you've GOT to love "Beauty in the River", for example. Or; just listen to "Country Girl" sometime, "Whippoorwill" anybody? These guys are great! Okay, "Chicken Train"; we can do without...There is a lot to like about the DDs, but my point is; these beautiful memories, these "golden moments", kinda jump out and surprise us sometimes.
So what was it in your life? Maybe a hike, and a perfect sunrise? What about that stunning moon-rise over the Grand Canyon, the one that filed so deeply in your memory? I think of times, as a youth; being in the Sandia mountains, outside Albuquerque. Full moon flying overhead, snow, quiet, and wild! Shivers down the back, a vital "presence" is with me! Those nearly "magical scenes" of beauty, that sense of bone-deep rest, just the "rightness" of it all, do you know these too? These times return to us across time, for a brief visit, a wispy reminder, and then they promptly turn to fly away again. Golden moments are those times when the "world was right", almost as-if reality is haunted by an (mainly invisible) over-sized beauty queen? She is a shy girl, who will smile, and nod, but never sit down to visit.
If you are like me; we find that such moments are best enjoyed from a range of years. Time does us the favor of blurring details. The harsh edges of memory get fuzzy, and the episode is "edited" to yield a friendly soft-focus, a lovely ambient glow. Our problem isn't the lack of focus here, but rather; our recurring efforts to regain "the magic" involved. We (next) attempt to generate, at-will; the warm, reassuring phenomenon. Bad idea; it is nice to run into, by accident an old friend. If on the other hand, you met him at your doorstop every morning, those encounters would surely lose the "enchanting" feature, so don't be surprised that you begin to notice the hair growing out of his nose and ears...
There is a segment in Lewis' book "Perelandra". Ransom is on a floating island on Venus. Some type of delightful plant has a flower (or some such) which goes "poof" and suddenly released is a brisk, light mist. A popping bubble, all freshness, and the thing is a marvel! As told, the enjoyment (once) is a fine thing, a happy accident, but to go about trying to repeat it, simply for the sake of enjoyment, was "wrong". Hey, go read the book, his version is much better told than mine, and as a bonus, actually makes sense!
The "point" behind golden moments, is that they are scattered across our lives. We forget them...until we don't! But, at that time, when they come to visit, for us to then attempt to (at will) "recreate" that beauty-moment simply does not work, besides being quite ugly-of-me to even try. Now, why are we discussing this in any case? Who cares?
Part of it (for today at least) is that we (humans) "anticipate" a golden age (!), and no mere additional golden moment to come. Prepare yourself, in that coming age, (I have to believe) our golden moments (down here) will be entirely swept away, to be remembered no more. After all, who recalls a firecracker after seeing a super-nova up close? Who recalls a drop of water, after going over Niagara Falls in a barrel? Yet, our forgetting of some, cannot negate all remembrance. Some things will always be remembered. Our "hint" here, is to think back; our King's wounds, received in His friends' house, those punctures...never "went away", and they never shall.
Do you see? The sheer, screaming butt-ugliness of our souls; and of this world-age, is the "outrigger and counter-balance" to golden moments. There you are, on-time at work, doing your job, and living your life. The ordinary surprise isn't a visit from a (mainly invisible) beauty queen, but a troll! He swings his club; and cancer, or auto-accidents, even death (!) "come out of nowhere". Hey, how can tragedy have the right to just waltz right in here? We need a bouncer who can handle trolls over here, it appears.
Instead of a placid glorious morning on the mirror surface of the bay in our little sailboat, we are now talking being amid 100 foot waves, crazy turbulence, and it looks like we're going down! Instead of a languid hour on a beach watching the dolphins...hokey smokes (!), the cancer has metastasized...AGAIN! I thought we'd killed that bastard...Will someone please call out the Marines, or just get us some help over here? Somehow, (in the past twelve days?), we have become the ping-pong ball in a game played by lousy titans? And notice; they do not appear to "play by the rules"!
Thank God, these horror-show aspects of life are not much more enduring than golden moments. The difference is that when a thousand years passes like a day, we enjoy it! But, for that hellish day, that one which feels like a thousand years (will it ever end?), we'd love to forget it, and cannot. Nobody ever waxes wistful, wanting to recall, trying to recreate "here", at the corner of "misery," and "fear"; thanks just the same. In my view, we have it very nearly backward, this business of remembering , and not.
Recall with me, the King retains the marks in His body, of how he was treated by His "friends"...and this is the part where you come in. Yes, I confess with the saints; "my name is written on His hands"...it's written right there beside the puncture mark in His wrist, which was left by my spike and hammer! It was my "goodness" that nailed that righteous Man to the tree from hell. It was I, who swung the hammer, which drove the nail. It's "as good" as I get! Recall with me, that the men who killed Lord Christ (exactly like us!), suffered from a case of "too-much-goodness-of-their-own". They were excessively "righteous". Now, the reason that these wounds are significant; with a view to golden moments being swept away, is like a sandcastle.
Picture a day at the beach, fun memories being "filed", Dad being "buried" by giggling young girls, and a wonderful sandcastle being erected. The mind expects that sandcastles will be swept away by the tide. It qualifies (I suppose) as a bit sad, that such is so, but the true sadness remains, and it is ours. We ourselves, shall surely be swept away by forces; far more powerful than tides. We ALL go into the ground friend. This world-age breaks...every heart! Life is one hundred percent fatal...
We await a new day, and a new age. And in that day, when we hear Him roar, we too shall roll away the stone, to stand again, clothed in gladness, immortality and light. In that hour we shall remember, and we shall forget. We shall forget the trip to the mountains and the peace of that hour, seeing that we have (in that "then") Peace-Himself; in Person! And we shall recall to mind, in "that-then", that as the cancer ate me alive, or while they searched the wreckage for our son, or while the dementia set-in, and Pop couldn't remember his children, just as the sadness was about to swamp our souls forever, as that heaviness was about to crush hope out of us...it was then that we called, "Hear me now!", and You heard. God bless the King! He heard, and that changed everything. We were not alone in that dark-then.
Back in that dark world, it was then that You taught us to thank You, not only when we were sure that You heard, but when we were not! There, smack in the middle of that misery, during those fears, we raised our heads to thank You, FOR this painful episode! No, we did not "understand" the power of that grief ...at...all (and we may never), and also, we bless You. You taught us this new thing!
Thank You Sir, for sending the One Sane Man, the True Witness, He who endured. You have joined our small-pain, to His True Pain. You have connected our little-dark to His True-Dark. And in that coming golden age, we shall remember the faithful Captain of our souls who against all opposition, all alone, afraid, and dying; never once faltered! He, and His sorrow, we shall recall at that time, and the fountain of that remembrance (then); shall be the joy that rocks worlds!
I tell you; He arose! This world, and it's "golden light", will be forgotten, but Him; Him come into our darkness drear; shall be remembered and sung over, forevermore! After all, it's only fitting. After Him, nothing is "the same"...ever. We say-so!