I keep hearing people say, “It is so good to be getting back to normal!” While I understand (and resonate with) the sentiment, I think it’s misguided. I also noticed via social media that a friend of mine had gone to a whole bunch of rock concerts over a stretch of about two weeks, and when I commented on his extravagant lifestyle, he said, “Gotta get out there in the two window pandemic break while you can!” Again, while I resonate with this statement – the surges keep on coming – it seems like a leap in hope to run out into the world with reckless abandon.
Then I ran across this posting from Brene Brown from her podcast “Dare to Lead,” and it seems to put a point on it for me.
“The world is always changing. Now it’s a racial reckoning and a pandemic. Before this, we had the 2008 recession and dot-com boom. If you think you’re going to come in and operate your business as if it’s February 2020, you’re going to get crushed. If you think you’re leading the same workforce – people with the same mindset, the same mentality, the same desires, and the same priorities – you are nuts. You have to change or get out of the way. There’s no turning back. This is the big reset, and that’s where the hope and the opportunity live.” – Scott Sonenshein
This sparked the idea in me that the “big reset where hope and opportunity live” is exactly the thing we are all yearning for.
Lord knows I can’t handle one more rescheduled set of travel plans or family event. We all need to be grounded. But culturally, the grounding place is still being sorted out on a global scale.
Our congregation has so many factors pressing on it to change and grow – a new building, and changes in pastoral leadership in addition to all the things happening in the world. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is re-prioritizing how they spend their time and energy, and honestly, church may or may not be on that list of things as we begin to add “all the things” back into our lives.
I am hoping so much that everyone finds their way back to full involvement here, but (and here’s the kicker) even when they do, we are changing. Our church is going to be different because we are different. There are new people finding their way to Our Redeemer’s, and they are bringing their focused energy of having chosen church as part of their post-pandemic restructuring of their lives in this new normal. And they are blessing us and changing us too.
Friends, as Lutherans we have been given the biggest gift for these times. We are people of the reformation – people of change and growth, people who are able to hold the massive challenge of the great “both/and” – holding more than one contrasting idea at the same time and welcoming the contradiction.
We can be both flesh and blood; we can be both sinner and saint; we can be both ancient and future.
And since we know that God is consistent and filled with love, even as we grow and shift and develop our community, we know we are held in mercy and grace. It is my prayer that we continue to bend and flex, that we don’t look back to the past for “normal” but instead trust that our grounding is found in our future, our faith, and our hope in God’s grace.
Peace to you in the churn,