Back to the Glory Days
Nostalgia is a longing, a sentimental look back to a time when things were at least perceived as better, and this usually happens when the present time is unhappy or depressing.
The nostalgia in Bruce Springsteen’s song “Glory Days” talks about two friends, one thinking about his glory days of high school baseball pitching prowess, and the other about the days before her broken marriage when she could turn the head of any guy. The lesson Springsteen speaks to in the song is that nostalgia is a trap that is a waste of time.
And I hope when I get old I don’t sit around thinking about it But I probably will Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture A little of the glory of, well time slips away And leaves you with nothing, mister, but Boring stories of Glory days yeah they’ll pass you by Glory days in the wink of a young girl’s eye Glory days, glory days.
The Old Testament seems full of longing to return to an earlier time, a yearning for the glorious days of old.
Shepherd your people with your staff,
the flock that belongs to you,
which lives alone in a forest
in the midst of a garden land;
let them feed in Bashan and Gilead
as in the days of old.
As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt,
show us marvellous things.(Micah 7:14-15)
For the days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the Lord, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their ancestors and they shall take possession of it. (Jeremiah 30:3)
God yearned for his people to return; however, it was not sentimental nostalgia, but the constant and consistent loving promise of restoration and renewal. Time never stands still, and never goes backward.
God’s people do not return to a better day but move forward to a better day.
“…the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.” (Matthew 11:5)
The miracles of Jesus are examples of restorative processes that bring people back to a functioning totality, returning to a normal that can move forward into a brighter future. The miracle brings the insight of who Jesus truly is, the knowledge of truth. Although illness is now understood not to be the consequence of God’s vengeance, the linkage of the miracle to the forgiveness of sins in the story of the paralytic demonstrates how God renews holistically.
For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Stand up, take your bed and go to your home.” And he stood up and went to his home. (Matthew 9: 5-7)
In the pandemic era that seems will never end (although it will), there is no going back to the pre-pandemic glory days. The nostalgia we have for those days only verifies the negative context that we are experiencing now.
Our wishes to go back can never come true; however, the eternal, therefore always present, loving promise of God constantly initiating renewal and restoration gives us hope.
Can we believe that the new normal will be even better than it was before? I invite you to view this interesting video from the BBC.