What will the “New Normal” look like?
Updated: May 29, 2020
Isaiah 58:9-12 The Message (MSG)
A Full Life in the Emptiest of Places
“If you get rid of unfair practices,
quit blaming victims,
quit gossiping about other people’s sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of
firm muscles, strong bones.
You’ll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You’ll be known as those who can fix anything,
restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
make the community livable again."
As the COVID 19 pandemic has brought life as we have known it to a screeching halt, you may feel like you have been thrown off your treadmill to the ground. Leaving us asking:
What just happened?
Here is Julio Vincent Gambuto answer to that question:
I hope you might consider this: What happened is inexplicably incredible. It’s the greatest gift ever unwrapped. Not the deaths, not the virus, but The Great Pause. It is, in a
word, profound. Please don’t recoil from the bright light beaming through the window. I know it hurts your eyes. It hurts mine, too. But the curtain is wide open. What the crisis has given us is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see ourselves and our country in the plainest of views. At no other time, ever in our lives, have we gotten the opportunity to see what would happen if the world simply stopped. Here it is. We’re in it. Stores are closed. Restaurants are empty. Streets and six-lane highways are barren. Even the planet itself is rattling less (true story). And because it is rarer than rare, it has brought to light all of the beautiful and painful truths of how we live. And that feels weird. Really weird. Because it has… never… happened… before. If we want to create a better country and a better world for our kids,
and if we want to make sure we are even sustainable as a nation and as a democracy, we have to pay attention to how we feel right now. I cannot speak for you, but I imagine you feel like I do: devastated, depressed, and heartbroken.[i]
Then he writes:
I beg of you: take a deep breath, ignore the deafening noise, and think deeply about what you want to put back into your life. This is our chance to define a new version of normal, a rare and truly sacred (yes, sacred) opportunity.
In a letter dated Easter Sunday, 12 April 2020, to social movements around the world, Pope
Francis offered some prophetic encouragement, writing:
I hope that this time of danger will free us from operating on automatic pilot, shake our sleepy consciences and allow a humanist and ecological conversion that puts an end to the idolatry of money and places human life and dignity at the center. Our civilization — so competitive, so individualistic, with its frenetic rhythms of production and consumption, its
extravagant luxuries, its disproportionate profits for just a few — needs to downshift, take stock, and renew itself.[ii]
Isaiah 58:12 tells the people of God if we follow God’s way of life that we will “be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again.
So as the people of God, as a faith community, what will our new normal look like?
What have we learned about ourselves, in “The Great Pause”, that we want to take forward with us?
What do we need to leave behind?
What will we fight for; to bring about change for those the system does not work for?
What will we do to make the community livable for all?
The future is still open. God is still at work creating, re-creating, and sustaining us to do things we could not have imagined before this pandemic. God is always calling us to a new normal!