I broke up my solo project, IKAIK, after thirteen years. My relationship with the members got weird after all those years. Things just had to change. Now I have a solid, reliable group of dudes to play with me. We're called The Summer Country.
For the thirty or so people who kept up with IKAIK, the new stuff might sound very much like another version of "Isaiah-plus-band". The difference isn't so much the music as it is the focus of this group. For one, I plan on having the same drummer, bassist, and lead guitar for some time. No more revolving door of talented but otherwise occupied friends. For two, the four of us all have a similar vision for our place in Nashville. We want to encourage and influence the spiritual and cultural renewal of our city.
With that in mind, I've worked on a song called "A History Lesson At The End Of The World". In it, I talk about how people tend to forget that the old days were just as crappy as these days. Nostalgia can cause a person to assume they haven't made or won't make any progress in life. They think about how the weather wasn't so crazy ten years ago (when, come on, it totally was), how their high school/college sweetheart was better than nothing, and how we might never have another Great Awakening or Billy Graham.
But maybe that's okay. Maybe we don't want things to be the way they were. Why don't we have an attitude of "Things are different now, so let's work to make the present even better than past." When asked what he would do if the world were to end tomorrow, Martin Luther answered, "I would plant a tree today."
If the world were to end tomorrow, I would still write a song or a weblog post today.
Going back to the Nehemiah 9 thing, much of the prayer looks at the past. God continued to bless His people and show them mercy in spite of their constant unfaithfulness. The leaders praying recognize God's justice in sending them into exile and hardship. This stirs them to makes decisions and a covenant for holiness in chapter 10.
My question is this: in your own life or that of your church, do you look to the past because it feels like the only bright spot of your history, or do you try to learn from your mistakes like the leaders in Nehemiah?