Churches should be places of thankful remembrance; the shared knowledge of God’s faithful blessings in the past are a great encouragement to present and future ministry.
Thankful remembrance should not give way to nostalgia. Thinking that the best is behind, or that present or future hope are only attainable by a return to what was of a past season is destructive.
Our past experience equips us to navigate present circumstances; and the good old days generally didn’t feel that good when they were happening either.
From Jared Wilson.
Anyone stuck in a nostalgic space is stuck in unreality. And the truth is, much of our nostalgic dreaming is fantasizing about a fantasy, not anything actually experienced. There is a kind of nostalgia that is actually harmful.
A church stuck in the “good old days,” for instance, is in great danger of death. Nostalgia is toxic to a church.
Similarly, the cold hard truth is that there is no such thing as a “golden age.” For every “simpler time” many people look back in hopes of recapture, there is a large number of people who experienced it as anything but. Sometimes white folks love to look back to the 50’s and 60’s as the good old days, willfully oblivous to the institutional injustices against black folks for whom nostalgia isn’t an option.
In this way, there are personal moments or experiences we might look back to and think upon fondly, but the time that the Lord has drawn out for us is relentlessly linear. We cannot — we dare not — live in the past. But it is helpful to remember it, to be cautioned by the reality as well as selectively instructed by the hopes.
Read the whole post here.