Listening to music such as “America the Beautiful,” “Fanfare for the Common Man,” “Home on the Range,” and “Convoy,” brought an immense feeling of nostalgia to my heart. Days long past, when I would roam the neighborhood on a hot summer day with my friends until the fireflies (or lighting bugs) came out; watching fireworks from the lake shore; grilling chicken and hamburgers and shooting off firecrackers while the adults would sit, smoke, and talk on the deck throughout the afternoon.
Where have those days gone? Where is today’s equivalent of such music and activities?
Why do things have to change?
I’ve heard that nostalgia originally was defined as the longing for home by soldiers off to war and that it was considered a medical condition.
But today it is said that nostalgia is more a longing for a time rather than a place. Recently there has been a series broadcast on the National Geographic Channel called “The 80’s: The Decade That Made Us.”
Is it possible that some people – enough to secure six hours of expensive broadcast time – are nostalgic for the 1980’s?
It seems like the 80’s where just here. How can anyone be nostalgic for last Tuesday?
But I’m reminded – and I’m not sure if I’m happily or sadly reminded – that the 1980’s were thirty years ago. I graduated from college in 1987 – that was a quarter of a century ago. I graduated from high school 30 years ago!
So much time has gone by. So much of my life has gone by. My wife and I have been married 22 years this August. We have lived St. Louis, MO, White Cloud, MI, Mayville & Beaver Dam, WI, Upland, CA, Lake Villa, IL and now Hawthorn Woods, IL. Our oldest son will be 17 next month. Our youngest son just turned 13 last month. Our middle son is now taller than my wife and he’s 14!
So much has changed.
And that reminds me of something I read last week.
“If something changes, then something else must stay constant and unchanging behind the thing that changes, otherwise we would not be able to recognize change” (H. Peter Steeves, quoted by Steve Johnson in his Chicago Tribune article “Nostalgia seems a fading memory,” April 14, 2013).
At first, I considered that it was me who hasn’t changed. That I’m the constant and unchanging by which I’m able to recognize all this change.
But then I got a good look of myself in the mirror this morning. That notion went right out the window!
I certainly have changed. In 1983, I was 18 years old. Now I’m 48. In 1983 I weighed about 220 pounds. Now, well, now I don’t. 30 years ago I had more hair, sharper eyesight, and pain-free knees. You get the idea.
So, if I’m not the constant, what is? Certainly not the culture. Steeves goes on to say, “But if it is the culture itself that has changed, then what is it that has remained stable, that allows us to recognize the change?” (ibid).
Here’s my thought. I’ve changed. You’ve changed. The culture has changed. Yes, even the world has changed.
Kids in my neighborhood used to stay out all day – from just after Ray Rayner and a bowl of Apple Jacks™ till mom called us in for dinner. We used to fish down at the lake, walk barefoot everywhere, and, when thirsty, drank from the garden hose out back.
That simply doesn’t happen today.
So what hasn’t change? God has not changed.
One thing that I used to do 30 years ago I still do today. On Sunday mornings I go to church. I worship with my family (wife and sons as well as by brothers and sisters in Christ). I still worship God who has never changed.
There’s a passage in the Bible that says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). In other words, Jesus has never changed.
He’s the constant and unchanging by which I’m able to see all the change in my life and in the world. All the myriad of changes in the world, from Twitter to Google to iPads to Facebook had made one thing perfectly clear to me.
People desperately need the rock-solid and unmovable and unchangeable Jesus Christ in their lives. Because no matter what else has changed, sin is still ever-present. Pain, suffering, and death – caused by sin infecting this world – need to be dealt with.
And it is dealt with by the unchanging Jesus Christ. He shed His blood to take away our sin. He destroyed death with His own death on the cross. And He changed the grave into a gate leading to paradise for those who believe in Him as Lord and Savior.
Whenever I’m feeling nostalgic these days – and they are more and more frequent – I’m reminded of the unchanging Good News of Jesus Christ.