Last night my wife and I went to see “Midnight in Paris.” It was “Back to the Future” for arty types. Like most Woody Allen films it was (in my humble opinion) a trifling diversion. The film left me with one lasting thought however, and that is, there is a human tendency towards nostalgia – a longing to look back at the past through rose coloured glasses and wishing it to return.
Christians suffer from the same syndrome. “The churches were fuller then.” “People lived Christian lives.” “Faith was respected in those days.” … and so on. We hearken back to a golden era when we perceive life to have been better.
The Christian faith, however, has never been a backward looking faith. From its roots in the Old Testment it is a forward looking faith. The people of God in the OT were to look forward to a land, nation, city and messiah. Now we are to look forward to a new heaven and earth, the realisation of the kingdom, and the return of the king. God commands us to be active in preparing the the way for the king’s return. We are encouraged to look forward in hope, anticipation and faith. Jesus’ return will not happen by facing the past, but rather by knowing the past, we face the future as we also know he will come from that direction.