These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.
– Psalm 42:4, NIV
In the past week, many of us have been remembering that the pandemic lockdown began about this time last year. A whole year! Sometimes it seems much longer, but other times it all feels like a blur. When it comes to remembering, one form it takes is nostalgia. I found out that the term “nostalgia” was coined din 1688 by a Swiss physician, Johannes Hofer, to describe what the Swiss mercenaries felt in their longing for home while they were away fighting. Symptoms included deep sadness, bouts of weeping, fainting, and stomach pain, among others.
Today, nostalgia is often portrayed in a negative light as longing for a time past that will never return. It is also seen as frivolous at best and a waste of time at worst. But a piece in The Wall Street Journal suggests that this may be wrong: “Reflecting nostalgically on the past is a common and healthy experience that helps people find the inspiration and confidence needed to move forward in life, particularly during difficult times.” The author adds, “Nostalgia isn’t a form of escapism. It is a source of inspiration. It pushes people forward, not backward.”
The passage above from the Psalms tells of remembering what is was like for the Psalmist to go to “the house of God” to worship with others. Like all of you, I look forward to when that will take place. Our Session has created a Health Task Force of members of our church with medical backgrounds to recommend to the Session when the trends indicate we can return to indoor worship with an appropriate degree of safety. As of this date, the overall trends have been looking better. I am praying that those trends will continue -- with all of us who can getting vaccines, wearing masks, and staying socially-distanced until we can gather together again for indoor worship at JCPC. Until then, thank you for your prayers, your patience, and for working together to get through this!