Sometimes things end. Sometimes things begin. And sometimes we’re stuck in between the ending and the beginning. It seems to me that in many ways that’s where we are now. Yes, COVID will end, and many things will return to what they were. Still, our world is forever changed, and many things that were once part of our routines will not return, or will not return in the same ways. This is neither all bad nor all good – it just is.
Meanwhile, we’re here, you and I, stuck in the middle. A professor of mine wrote these thoughts in a book about congregations stuck in between an ending and a beginning:
The problem inherent in this strand of transition is that separation from established roles, status, and behavior causes people’s anxiety to rise and their motivations to fall… Feeling the danger inherent in this strand of transition, the members are tempted to rush through or to act in fear… Resist the desire for certainty and closure. Congregations often try too quickly to ‘get back to normal’ when in reality there is no ‘normal’ to get back to.[i]
This is so true. What we once knew as normalcy doesn’t exist now, and may never exist again. Yet this is not necessarily a cause for despair. Rather, my friends, this is a time for creativity. For courage. For compassion. For all the things that Jesus taught.
For Jesus made things clear when he said, “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.”[ii] Jesus changed the world, and made that former ‘normal’ something that would never return. We live in the wake of that change, and we do so joyfully. God is not yet finished molding our lives, and God is leading us through, just as God led the disciples in Jesus’ time. Together, let us embrace this time in which we live. Let us claim our new reality as one in which we are being led by Christ to a new creativity. Let us celebrate all the wonders God is still doing, today, here, and now.
Finding My ‘Normal,’
[i] Craig A. Satterlee. When God Speaks Through Change. (Herndon, VA: Alban, 2005), 9.
[ii] Matthew 10:34, New Living Translation.