Welcome to Easter 2021! It has been a year to remember, or forget, depending on what mood you’re in when you begin to go through the last 365 days of memories. But no matter how you view this past year, you have doubtless heard it called the “new normal”. This is a phrase I have heard way more than I ever thought I would. Every time some protocol changed, every time the numbers went up or down, every time we changed the face of some activity or holiday that had seemed immutable, there was someone there to say “well, this is the New Normal.” Or perhaps, as things continued to change, there was someone there desperately asking for an answer to the question “is this the New Normal?”
Easter is a particularly good time to be asking another question: What is the New Normal? What do we mean when we say that? I’m just going to come out and say that I think what we mean is devastating change. But wait, this doesn’t always mean bad change. I mean that it will devastate the old way of being and establish something that no one saw coming. Christ brought devastating change. He came, and He changed everything.
Maybe you know what it feels like to have everything change. It is more likely than not in the world that we live in that your life has drastically changed. If you moved your entire family to a new place for a job that just went away when the economy of our country changed. If you said your vows with forever in mind but forever just didn’t happen like you planned. If you trained for your entire life to do something and someone just told you that you can no longer do that thing because of a change in your health or an injury to your body. If you placed your trust in a person who turned out to be imperfect and human and unworthy of so much trust. If you had a plan for this life, any plan, which you just found out won’t be happening. If you have been there, then can you imagine what it must have felt like in the midst of the change that Jesus brought? I mean, how did the disciples feel on Saturday? They didn’t know exactly what would happen on Sunday. They only knew that the person, the cause, the belief that they had changed their lives for was seemingly over, dead, crucified. No matter what faith they had, it was harder to believe in the midst of such loss and fear.
In reality however, the sucking loss that the disciples felt was not really loss at all, but change. The old was gone, but more importantly, the new had come. The old meant separation from God. The new meant reconciliation with God.
Sunday, and the days that followed as Jesus let His followers know what had happened, was the beginning of something no human had known since the moments we spent in the Garden with God before our fall. What an amazing sense of excitement, and fear, as everything changed and was made new. There was life to be had now, where before there was just existence. But some were not willing to give up the existence; it was scary to leave behind the old. It is still that way. Leaving behind what was is still scary on that day when you can’t see the new yet.
See, those people touting or bemoaning the “new normal” are stuck in Saturday. They cannot see Sunday. They do not know that God has made and is making all things new:
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’
He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’”
You can make your choice. You can see the Saturday of your change and think that this loss is where things will always be or you can ask God to help you be patient and see Sunday. You can be patient to see what God will do with the change. Something that is beautiful and perfect because that is what He is, beautiful and perfect.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.’”
There is a reason that this is written in a book called Lamentations. A book where much of the words spent are crying out in pain and asking for deliverance. These words are important to remember in the midst of our lament.
When you awaken every morning, no matter what pain you feel, don’t listen to those voices shouting about the “new normal” of pain and separation. Listen to the voice of the one who’s compassions are “new every morning”.
Happy Easter! We welcome the change of Jesus Christ! He has renewed us.