Starting 2019 with confidence — free from worry

January 4, 2019

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.
We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.

Most of us have sung one version or another of Robert Burns’ 1788 poem at one time or another, but beyond the fleeting thought of another year past, what does the Scottish “auld lang syne” mean? In Standard English it means “old long since,’ but it could also be shorthand for “old long since” or “days gone by.”

At its core the poem — turned into song — is about a friendship and the experiences friends have had over a long period of time. Most of us have friends who have been by our side since childhood in one-way or another. Some we see occasionally, some we hardly see, but when we do, the reconnection is instantaneous. And there is another aspect, a feeling his poem evokes.

Burns’ poem makes us reach back and think about those we will miss as the New Year dawns. As a church family we’ve had several transitions in 2018. Lillie Mae Brown went home to be with the Lord last January. Xavier Jackson followed in February, and in April, Tabitha Benboe passed on the second day of the month, followed by Shinetha Clark on the fifth. Trey Baker would transition on April 25 and Mildred McClendon on April 28. Victoria Lester would leave us in June followed by Marquitta Gray in July and Bernice Smith in October. Hardly a year goes by when the sting of death doesn’t strike — not only our church family — but also our individual families.

That’s why my favorite part of Sunday service is when Pastor Morgan opens up the doors of salvation and invites people to accept Christ.

We’ve heard the saying all of our Christian lives, “Don’t wait until next Sunday.” Pastor Morgan clearly hears the Holy Spirit whispering to him as he entreats people to come forward. He waits them out as the Holy Spirit works on them. One of his most powerful sayings during this special time is, “You’ve tried everything else. Christ is waiting on you.”

That gives those standing on the fence between damnation and heavenly hope the added push that Christ is waiting on them. He knows them by name — and there is no sin his blood sacrifice cannot wash away. That’s such good news.

So as we begin a new year, we strike out in 2019 with confidence — free from worry and fear. We don’t know what the New Year will bring, but we do know we serve a risen savior and while we don’t know the hour of our transition — he does and he will be waiting to welcome us into his loving arms when that time comes.


Written by Charles E. Richardson