America is beginning to reopen from the shutdown caused by COVID-19. Little by little. State by state. City by city. There is obviously a great desire to get back to normal.
“I want my life back,” is a familiar refrain. But do we? Do we really need to get back to normal?
During this time of “sheltering in place,” families have spent more time together. Played games. Made music. And found ways to creatively engage in enjoyable activities. Stories abound about husbands and wives reconnecting. And parents bonding with their children. If normal is returning to a home life where husbands, wives and children are going their separate directions with little interaction, let’s don’t go back to normal.
Churches in various states are beginning to reopen. The opportunity to worship and attend Bible classes is something we’ve always taken for granted. It’s easy to fall into a spiritual rut. To go through the motions of worship. To allow routine to become ritual. To become an observer instead of a participant. And to skip services when it’s not convenient. If that in any way describes you, don’t return to normal.
I imagine many of us who consider ourselves spiritually minded and devoted Christians, will discover a new joy in collective worship. In raising our voices in praise. In fervently being led in prayer. And in solemnly and collectively engaging in communion. We may find the “new normal” better than the “old normal.”
During this shutdown, preachers, pastors and churches have discovered innovative ways to connect with their members. Embraced new technology. And have been particularly aware of ministering to older members and those shut in. Maybe we don’t want to return to “normal” as we add these new methods to our ministry.
Think about not returning to “normal.”
When a friend or brother embraces you with a hug or firmly shakes your friend, you deeply appreciate and value their friendship and brotherhood.
When you return to a restaurant and the service is a little slow, instead of grumbling, be thankful that restaurants are open and you can enjoy eating out.
When you return to work, thank God for your job. And for the opportunity to earn a living and provide your family.
When you come home tired and just want to chill, but your kids want some attention, remember how much they enjoyed doing things together during the shut down.
When you’re tempted to rush from one thing to another on your task list, take a moment to slow down. Stop to smell the roses. Enjoy the journey. See the beauty of God’s creation all around you. Don’t return to normal.
When you pray don’t lapse back into a regular, rote prayer, but think how fervently we’ve prayed during the shut-down. Prayed for good health. Safety. A cure for the virus. For our family and friends. Possibly prayer now has a new meaning in your life.
When we’re finally able to reassemble in larger groups, thank God for the blessing of community and connection with other people.
If going back to normal, is taking life for granted, failing to appreciate our blessings, being inattentive to our friends, family and brethren and assuming what we have will always be there, let’s don’t go back to normal.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman