The Problem with Nostalgia
There is a problem with ‘pure nostalgia’. I’m talking about being completely immersed in that rose-colored hue of an idyllic past. In my lifetime I’ve witnessed nostalgia being expressed by so many people for so many perfect pasts. The one thing they have in common is that they point to a past as if it was perfect, only remembering those things about the past that fit that view while discarding those that weren’t so perfect. Truthfully, much of this is pretty innocent…the subject of daydreams. I do it when I need a brief escape from reality. Honestly, there has been a lot of that recently; its natural. The problem comes when this nostalgia tries to rewrite history on a broad scale. When nostalgia stokes fear and fear wins brokenness, separation, tribalism and pain are not far behind. It brings death to the community.
What It Means to Remember
From a spiritual standpoint, when we are called to ‘remember’ it isn’t an exercise in nostalgia. Even though we are only on our fifth week of physical distancing and live streaming worship, it is easy for us to pine away for our friends, family in faith and the experience of being together. We remember with great fondness the joy, strength and well-being that came with those experiences. To better draw strength from this it will be helpful to dig deeper into the call to remember. In our Communion liturgy we are called to receive the elements “in remembrance” of Jesus. This is more than a simple of act of recalling or recollecting Jesus. It is a call to re-member our faith and experience. The difficulties of our life can easily tear us down and break us apart, resulting in fear, despair and isolation. Be re-membering we pull together not only the belief about our faith, not only our recollection of Jesus’ life and Scripture but we also remember the ‘why’. We remember why all this is important. We remember why we responded to the call of faith. We remember why our life together in the community of faith is important. This reconnects us to our core.
Reclaiming Our Beginning
On that first Easter, Jesus tells the women who encounter him to have the other disciples go ahead to Galilee where they will see him. This is more than a road trip. This is an invitation to remember where their relationship with Jesus began. It is also an opportunity to reconnect with why it mattered. Further, it is an open door to reconnect with what it means for their life, faith and witness going forward from Easter. Because this Easter will be unlike any we have ever celebrated the call for the disciples to return to Galilee is a great metaphor for us. While we will make every effort to have the worship experience be familiar and as close to ‘being there’ as possible, it will always fall a little short. However, that’s not to say that this Easter won’t have deep meaning for us as a way to re-member our life and faith. Let us go into this blessed weekend of anticipation with open eyes, open hearts and open lives to see where Christ is present in our life and world. Let us also return to our core and reclaim the power and purpose of our faith.