Nostalgia is not New

 

Nostalgia… If you live in that cerebral district, you are likely unhappy with the circumstances of the here and now. Some spend their time living on memories, forced backward by today’s pain or just a simple dissatisfaction with the present day’s unfoldings. Or, perhaps it is the future they fear. For example, classic rock was just, well, rock until an aging generation began missing screaming guitar solos. Lost in a modern sea of computerized techno-beats, they longed for arena filling anthems, and so made a safe place on the radio dial where they could always return. And, there they dwell. No thank you. The future does come spilling into the present like a mad rush of water - sweeping away all in its path. But, it  is not to be feared, nor avoided. Consider the source! It is poured out of heaven itself from the wells and springs where love abides and time does not. There is no going back. We know this full well. Since retreat is not an option, should we not cease listening to the drum cadences of yesteryear and turn our eyes to the front?

It’s a longstanding issue.  Nostalgia did not ride in on hair mousse and mullets. The ancient wanderers of Israel longed to return back home from the desert , even though they were looking back to the slave chains of Pharaoh. What it boils down to is trust. The Jewish population was carrying a promise from on high that spoke of a future land, flowing with milk and honey. These delicacies were not available in the wilderness, but rather than looking ahead in faith, they found it simpler to look backward toward the spice and bite of Egyptian garlic and onions. These ingredients make good pizza toppings but are poor substitutes for sweet milk and honey.

Years ago, I was conducting a Teen 12-Step meeting in the church where I pastor. Noting the sudden passing of a friend, the youths were talking seriously about life and it’s brevity. “If I ever die…” one young man began to muse. I stopped him mid-sentence and replaced his spoken “if” with a “when”. It will happen. The life to death ratio stands at one to one. You cannot tune this reality out. You can’t survive on the memory of yesterday’s lunch. We must push on in faith. If we listen, we will hear Love calling us forward over the crashing drums and whispered complaints of our past.

Love never fails. It never changes. It is the One thing that will carry you from decade to decade and into eternity, for it is the very stuff that matters. When God chose to reveal Himself to us - He chose love as the method. The coming future is a love story. But, you must accept love on its own terms. Negotiations are meaningless. Love has made a way but it is narrow. Only a few find it. The rest of earth’s populace is left to spin the dial in hopes they will find something familiar to lean on. They will sing along in classic fashion until the final song is played - and that last hymn will begin with a resounding “Hallelujah!” It will pour forth in a welcome wave of newness, sweeping away all past and present. The future is coming. But fear not. It is a love song that the angels sing. Alpha to Omega... beginning to end.