Politicians. Media. Business leaders. Even Church leaders have used a phrase I do not understand.
The New Normal.
Surely, it is an oxymoron. Something cannot be both “new” and “normal” at the same time?
Some use it as a phrase of aspiration. They dream of a kinder, compassionate, better world emerging post coronavirus. Others see an opportunity to bring change, whether we want it or not. This change can be justified by being “the new normal.”
Change is inevitable. It happens. Sometimes, change can be exciting;
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
(Isaiah 43 vs. 19)
Sometimes, change feels unwelcome and terrifying.
Yesterday, I attended a Zoom meeting with other Church leaders and the phrase “the new normal” was one that appeared regularly. To be honest, I am no wiser as to what “new normal” looks like.
I do, however, have a greater understanding of some of the issues that we are facing as the country makes it tentative steps back from isolation.
For many people, the push to get back to work and end the lockdown makes the new normal appear to be, suspiciously, like the “normal normal”. I think this is dangerous. Not only from a health point of view but, from an emotional point of view too. This push denies the reality of what we have all been through over the past few months.
I may not be able to tell you what the “new normal” will be, I can tell you how I think we need to engage with it.
What do we need?
We need to understand that Coronavirus has been costly for everyone. Some have faced the loss of loved ones. Some have lost jobs. Others have faced multiple disappointments. We have all paid in some way.
We need to not only celebrate coming together but, there also needs to be space to mourn for what we have lost.
Remember those old sci-fi movies where the aliens always declared “resistance is useless”?
My biggest worry, there will be such a push to get things “back to normal” that we will fail to grasp the opportunity to reflect and assess. We must resist the urge to rush back. We must take the take the chance this has given us to reflect and assess “is this really what God wants of us now”?
Hard, though it is, we will all have to accept that this is going to take a while.
We do not know, at this stage, what things will be like when we eventually open again. We do not what social distancing will be required. What hygiene requirements will be. Will we have coffee and chat? We do not know if we will be able to sing or not.
When we re-start, you may even feel disappointed that this “isn’t Church”.
We need to accept that we are all learning and finding our way through something none of us has faced before. Recovery takes time and, if you rush recovery you can do immense damage.
What Do We Do?
Obvious. But necessary.
Pray for Church leadership that we may have wisdom, knowledge and compassion as we navigate through difficult waters.
Pray for those who are struggling with loss and fear. Pray that they would experience the love of God as they seek to cope with what they are going through.
Pray for yourself that, God would open your heart to what He is doing and how He is moving at this time.
Take any and every opportunity to be an encourager. Encourage the Church leadership, encourage each other. If something has not been to your taste or liking, look for the good that God is saying to you and share it rather than the negatives.
- Be Gracious
Something we are all going to need is graciousness.