What is the New Normal?

               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:

Revelation 21:3-5

“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.

Lamentations 3:22-24

“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.

Ronda

Holy Week: April 16, 2019 email

I was thinking about you all today. I got to see some of you this morning at Bible Study and I look forward to catching up with those of you I don’t see sometime later this summer when we can get together. I love the community that God has built with us. You are all vital parts, no matter what your part.

 Today was one of those days, you know the ones, where your car becomes the mobile command unit between meetings, studies, doctor’s offices and soccer practice. Even though I was fully prepared for every appointment (a rare occurrence, I assure you) and I knew they would all be very close in time, I couldn’t help but feel like I was physically running for most of the day. But then there came a time in the afternoon when an appointment went short and I had a choice: I could go to my son’s school and wait for an hour for him to get out of school while my youngest took his nap in the car, or I could take the time and go home for a 40 minute rest. I took the 40 minutes. I don’t know if it was the right choice for any of us, but it just felt good to check into home-base.

Now, this week is Holy Week (I know this looks like a tangent, but bear with me). Basically this is the week of several remembrances including Good Friday and Easter Sunday, when we are to bring to our minds and hearts all of the events that make up the last part of each of the gospels and the foundation of our faith. 

This week also happens to be the week our taxes are due, the week we watched Notre Dame burn, the week that people all over the country are feeling the effects of extreme weather… It is a crazy week. 

But, remember, it is Holy Week. Even though, to the world it does not look like the time to take a few minutes and remember our foundation, it is. Remember that. 

It is one of those weeks where we feel like we are running a spiritual mobile command unit from one crisis to the next, but we have to remember home-base. 

My home-base is not a house, or a person, or a financial situation, or a beautiful church that has stood for centuries. My home-base is Jesus. 

So, even if it is just a few minutes, take the time this week to check in to home-base. Because:

“The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

He leads me beside quiet waters,

He refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me; 

your rod and your staff,

they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil; 

my cup overflows.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me

all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the LORD 

forever.”  -Psalm 23 NIV

God Bless you all and have an amazing Easter celebration!

Ronda