A Little Bit of Nostalgia

Last Sunday, as I drove north with my brother, the weirdest feeling passed over me. This was the first time since our parents passed away back in 1991 that we had traveled to Timmins together. In fact, my brother hasn't been north since 1996, when he took a few days just to come up by himself.

In the past, we eagerly anticipated pulling up in front of the house on Elm Street to be greeted by mom and dad and to feel the familiar sentiments of being "home." Now, for the first time, Wayne was coming to my new home, an old world with a new beginning. Today we will go to the cemetery where mom and dad are buried, not because of nostalgia, but for a much more practical reason. When I was there in the spring there were "things" growing on the headstone and I warned my brother that when he came up we needed to go back there and clean things up. Coming home is different now.

Wayne brought up a couple of suitcases of photos that he's been looking after since I went overseas. Last night we looked through some of them, reminiscing about days past. He even remembers the day my folks brought me back from the hospital and yes, that WAS me, age three, mounted on the pony in the driveway.

Wayne took his own nostalgic trip yesterday while I was at work, He drove around town checking out the places he once knew, including the house we spent a lot of years in until our parents died. Remembering is a bitter-sweet process at times. Now, so many years later, it's more sweet than bitter, the sharp edge of loss dulled with time.

Though the two events don't seem to be related, our journey back linked itself to my devotional reading of this morning. There is nothing "sweet" about Amos's condemnation of Israel for having forgotten her God in spite of all that the Almighty had done to bless her, and despise all the not so pleasant reminders that she was to be a peculiar people chosen to bring glory to His name.

They forgot.

Israel went on her way, doing all the right things on the outside, but with only spiritual emptiness on the inside, a show of religiosity that God despised. She became apathetic toward all that was important to God, forgetting His agenda in favour of her own. A few lines in the middle of Amos 6 jumped out at me as the prophet condemns their self-indulgence: "You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph. Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile; your feasting and lounging will end" (vs. 5-7, NIV).

The Lord wanted justice and righteousness (5:7, 24) but He got something very different. Israel was not nostalgic enough for what she had lost because of her own waywardness, to return to the ways of her God.

Last night I had a conversation with a gal blessed with the gift of intercessory prayer. She was about to leave her church because she found no outlet for her gift. I found that an incredible condemnation of the state of many churches today—a believer who doesn't have a way to pray for, and with, the body of Christ? I long with somewhat nostalgic passion for a people on their knees before God praying for justice and righteousness to overwhelm His people, praying that the apathy of soul will be expunged, praying for revival in His church.

I remember when the church cared more about God than it did about each individual's personal agenda. Was the past perfect? Not by any means. But it is not without reason that the Scriptures, particularly the Old Testament, are so full of reminiscences of past glories even in their imperfect state. We are to remember what God did, what He told us, who He is, who we are because of him, and what we are here for.

This morning, my brother and I have moved a little closer again to the parents we lost so many years ago. Though it may be a poor illustration of our relationship to God as individuals and as the church, it still serves as a reminder that there is value in looking back, and even more value in embracing again the timeless truths that are anchored in that past.

Comments

  1. What a reminder to remember. Forgetting is so common, but always to our peril. Thanks, hun.

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  2. Once again you have blessed me and opened my eyes, this time by illuminating the "timeless truths that are anchored in the past."
    Thank you my sister in Christ!

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  3. I appreciate your thoughts Lynda! Especially about the church today. I don't have the benefit of looking back in time but do feel strongly about the truths seen in the word. I am experiencing what I think to be a healthy disappointment with the way things are. I long for God to be worshipped first! All falls into place when God is first and people are second. I think often leaders and people in the church somehow think that is mean. We know it is the best for ourselves personally so it is the best if we have this loving care for people by loving Jesus first! Sorry your post prompted a little rant! :) I know I need to hear what you said and what I just said in reflection.

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