A Word from the Pastor
June 25th, 2020
I suppose there’s not a single person among us who doesn’t miss something from our pre-pandemic life. Perhaps it’s being at Red Clay on Sunday mornings and passing the peace or singing in the choir. Perhaps it’s going out to a restaurant for dinner, or to a movie, or shopping. Maybe you miss the days when we didn’t need to wear a mask when we were in public. I suspect that all of us are hoping for some kind of return to “normal” as soon as possible. Given the reports from all across the nation of people refusing to wear masks and not maintaining physical distance, it would appear that we have simply gotten tired of taking the precautions that health officials tell us we must if we want fewer people to die from coronavirus and less of our population to become sick. In our desire, however, to resume life as it once was, we may miss an opportunity to grasp the new thing God may be calling us to do and to become.
One writer has recently noted that whenever God was unfolding a “new normal” in the past, that “new normal” didn’t happen in a vacuum. Instead, there was always a larger context of upheaval that “precedes, motivates and surrounds divine newness on this dusty planet.” [Skolnik, Matthew, Presbyterian Outlook, May 27, 2020]. What if we stepped back from our desire and attempts to return to some sort of “new normal” which might look a lot like the old normal except with the addition of masks and physical distancing, and sought God’s direction for our future? What if we took this moment in our history and asked ourselves what it is that we are learning during this time, what it is that we have given up in the last several months that we have not missed at all, and what new opportunities might await us that have become clear only because we have had to shelter in place and only because we have had to embrace a different way of being together than in the past?
While we may be anxious to return to something that resembles “normal”, perhaps there’s a gift from God even in this uncomfortable time when everything is different.