May 26, 2020 - Normal

When I woke up this morning, I reflected on what has been considered to be normal in our lives and what has now become our new normal. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, normal meant conforming to a standard of living that became the usual or typical pattern. The pandemic has rocked our usual pattern of living. The question for all of us today is, "Will things ever return to what we recall as being normal?" Regardless of all the predictions, only God knows when and how.  

My generation has always been able to leave our homes freely at any time of the day or night without restrictions. Will our future new normal require us to continue to wear masks or practice social distancing, if so, how long? My response to that question is this, "If a mask is going to protect or save my life and others, the new normal will be implemented." Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Task Force Coordinator, has made it clear on several occasions that mask can prevent droplets from affecting others. Going to our jobs sitting in traffic for hours has been the norm, but now will more people telework from home as a new normal? Will the new normal require us to communicate and conduct business more via technology than in person? Will the new normal reduce our ability to freely touch one another or will we refrain from embracing? Will the new normal require us to be more mindful of social distancing at social gatherings? Will students in schools be able to do more online course work? Will virtual learning become a thing of the future? As my wife often says, "These are all just think abouts." 

The normal for many folk was to give God whatever limited time they wanted. Will the new normal require us to spend more time with God in private worship, prayer and praise? I believe covid-19 has caused us to have a deeper appreciation for God, family and friends.     

"Even the stork knows when it is time to move on. The turtledove, swallow, and crane recognize the normal times for their migration. But my people pay no attention to what I, the Lord, require of them. Jeremiah 8:7 (NET)

Is God speaking to us today through this passage of scripture? Is God requiring us to use more wisdom in this season of uncertainty? It is amazing how birds respond to seasons of the year. We who have a greater intellect than the bird must figure out how to respond to this covid-19 season. I think the passage shares with us the wisdom of the bird compared to that of humans. May we give attention to what God is requiring of us.          

"Shall not the land tremble on this account and everyone mourn who dwells in it. Yes, it shall rise like the river (Nile), all of it, and it shall be tossed about and sink back again to normal level, as does the Nile of Egypt." Amos 8:8 (AM)

One commentator, J. Blake Couey, suggests there is a connection between economic and environmental exploitation. He says, "Corporate fraud, exploitation of the poor, and ecological disruption are consequences of the drive to maximize profit at any costs. Those who live on the margins often suffer disproportionately from environmental abuse."

We too shall sink back at some point and time to a state of normalcy, be the past norm or the future new normal. 

The new normal may require us to spend more time at home than in social gatherings. Whatever the new normal may be in our lives, let's make the commitment and save your life and the lives of others. Remember, it is we who determines what is normal and abnormal.

Not a sermon, just a thought!

Robert Earl Slade, Pastor