8712905Nostalgia can gut you. I just bought Simon & Garfunkel, Old Friends, Live on Stage (CD+DVD). I am blown away every time I hear “Homeward Bound.” Happened again.

All of us who live in the modern rock/pop era have our own collection of songs that transport us quickly and powerfully back to the past. “Homeward Bound” is right there on the top of my list.

I listen to it and I am 17 again. I am in Lower 6 and in St Xavier’s Institution. I am in the editorial board of my school magazine. I am a leader in my church YF. I am discovering that A levels are much much harder than O levels. I am going to St. George’s Girls School fun fairs and checking out the babes. I am hoping my church leaders don’t find out.

Its hard to believe that I first heard “Homeward Bound” when I was 15. I felt its pathos even then. Don’t know why. At 15 life was good.

In 1970 I’ll bet life was good for Simon & Garfunkel too. They sang about, and I felt a sadness for, events yet to come. None of us knew how turbulent the “Troubled Waters” were going to be. We know now.

So at 51, listening to “Homeward Bound” I am transported home to simpler and happier times. It is an illusion of course. We really cannot go home again. Some of us had horrible childhoods and do not ever want to walk that way again. Even in our memories.

But some of us had good childhoods. And adolescence was a happy passage. When a particular song does its magic we are transported back. Only to be reminded that we will never pass that way again.

We were 15. We are now 51. The road runs in the opposite direction. And boy does it run.

I just attended the funeral of a very good friend’s sister. Pancreatic cancer. She would have been 51 this year. My age.

The record companies make big bucks from the nostalgic yearnings of an aging baby boomer generation. One day it hits you that you are going to die. And that maybe your best days are behind you. And we hear Simon & Garfunkel remind us: Preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left you. And you tear…

Preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left of you? Hang on. I think not.

Christians, like all who walk this earth, are not immune to the power of nostalgia. We indulge in it once in awhile. But we never forget that our lives are in a major key not a minor one. Because of Jesus.

I am grateful for the blessings I have received throughout my life. I had tough times. I had great times. But I don’t live in the past. I live in the present and in the present I enjoy the fullness of life that Jesus gives (John 10:10).

More than that my best days are before me, not behind me. I was reminded at the wake for my friend’s sister that for followers of Jesus, death is not some two dimensional shadowy uncertainty.

For the believer, the life to come is more real, more solid, than life in a world in the grip of entropy. What awaits us is a world with no more evil nor the effects of evil (Revelation 21). It will be a world that captures all that is good in this life and amplifies it infinitely. It will be a dynamic perfect world.

No, we can’t go home again But that’s all right. Because home lies ahead.

We are homeward bound. And our Love lies waiting. And my friend’s sister has gone on ahead.

Your brother, Soo-Inn Tan