Monday, January 7, 2019

TIME ZONES, Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Paul McCartney wrote about 'Yesterday,' still one of his most popular songs. In 1999 BBC acclaimed it to be greatest song of the past 100 years. I'm sure there are contenders for that title but that is not my purpose for mentioning two more songs. They are 'Today,'' words and music by Randy Sparks and made memorable by the New Christy Minstrels and by John Denver; and 'Tomorrow,' by Quvenzhan√© Wallis, written for the musical, "Annie." 


Predictably we may all share some of the sentiments expressed within each of these three songs.  In Paul's melancholy lament, yesterdayseemed idyllic because trouble seemed so far away whereas now, troubles appear here to stay. The chief trouble is a love relationship, broken because of something he said. Now he has feelings of regret and inadequacy and longs for yesterday. Randy Sparks opts for todaybecause he can't be contented with yesterday's glory nor can he live on tomorrow's promises. Instead he concludes that today is his moment and now is his story and he will live to the full all the satisfaction and flavours he derives from today. "A million tomorrows shall all pass away, 'Ere I forget all the joy that is mine, today."In Annie's song, tomorrowbecomes a mantra as today's darkness, loneliness and sadness are erased by thoughts of tomorrow when most certainly the sun will break through to lift her spirits. "Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow, you're only a day away."

One time period, past, present or future doesn't need to be preferred over the others. We each have an archive of yesterdays and we have only one today before it too becomes a yesterday. And of tomorrow we have no guarantee. Tomorrow is full of potential todays. But if we don't get tomorrow, is that all there is? 
Peggy Lee sang the answer that songwriters Jerry Leibe and Mike Stoller provided in the song called, 'Is That All There Is?' In three stanzas Peggy recites life incidents that are heartbreaking. As a little girl her family home burned to the ground. Then at twelve years of age she attended the greatest show on earth but the circus didn't meet her expectations. As a young woman in love she was fully invested with the handsome man of her dreams, but he left her. After each episode she asks, "Is that all there is?" And she concludes, "If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing. Let's break out the booze and have a ball."Then Peggy finishes with this poignantly disconsolate stanza. "I know what you must be saying to yourselves, if that's the way she feels about it why doesn't she just end it all? Oh, no, not me. I'm not ready for that final disappointment, cause i know just as well as I'm standing here talking to you, when that final moment comes and I'm breathing my last breath, I'll be saying to myself, if that's all there is my friend, then let's keep dancing, let's break out the booze…"

There is a time zone not mentioned yet. There is yesterday, today and tomorrow. How many tomorrows? Vicky Beeching expresses the time zone that's missing from this time continuum in her song, 'Yesterday, Today and Forever.' Against the hastily mentioned delicacy of our lives in this fragile world where time flies, she writes that God can be trusted because from everlasting, through all the yesterdays and todays and tomorrows God has remained unchanged and unchanging, always merciful, loving, good and faithful. She writes these attributes as though talking directly to God as in a prayer-song. God is constant. He is a forever God. He dwells in forever. He invites us into forever. All our yesterdays, and all of our todays, and even our tomorrows become subsumed within forever. Then she offers this declaration "We will trust in you." 
Somewhere in Yesterday I was a sinner, unaware of my condition. Then during another Yesterday, God's Spirit drew me to faith in my Saviour Jesus. Today I am God's child, a disciple of Christ, indwelt by the Spirit. That's a pretty firm foundation on which a life can be lived. Tomorrow I intend to live obediently by faith, and conceivably I may find myself in God's immediate presence. You know what I mean. Yesterday will be no more. Tomorrow will be redundant. Forever will be my home environment and all of time will be Today.      

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