I’ve got to admit, despite my love of adventure, I have found that I have become a creature of quite some routines:
In a typical week I attend the same meetings, get in touch with the same colleagues, relatives and friends, garden, watch the same sort of TV dramas, listened to Radio 4, stick to tried and trusted recipes, walk to the same places, enjoy the same activities, send the same sort of emails, check the same sites on line, make small talk with the same neighbours, and read the same (or at least the same kinds of) books. Yes, I have a routine, and I don’t mind it. That’s not to say that I avoid change. I really enjoy visiting new places. And there’s something borderline adventurous about going for a walk later in the day when you would normally pack it in for the night!
We all get used to a certain pace of life. For most of us, I venture to guess that our typical pace is anywhere from steady to warp speed. Yet I also think that a great many of us have had that physical pace come to a near screeching halt over the past months .
Most of us have had to adjust to this ‘new normal’. And none of us knows for how long these adjustments will be necessary and whether things will once again lockdown. Here’s what I’ve concluded: the new normal is not what we would have chosen, but there is a sense in which we really need it. We cannot lose so many more lives, loved ones and friends, or allow our health services to be so overwhelmed that they can’t treat everyone else. We need to keep one another safe.
We really want everyone to be able to work, get to the theatre, go to live concerts and sports events. We long to go back to handshaking and hugging and parties and eating out and being able to have family gatherings and visit without restrictions our care homes.
But we have learned some things:
· That we don’t always have to be “on the go”; we can grow to appreciate simply being at home.
· Activities can still be enjoyed, but we don’t need to let them rule our schedules.
· Economically we may need to be content with less, more willing to support local small businesses and shops, churches, and charities, and appreciative of what we have already.
· Parents can work more closely with teachers, and perhaps partner together more regularly in the education of children.
· Families can enjoy the outside more together even when it gets colder, taking more walks and cycle rides.
· We can interact more with our neighbours, keeping in touch with the elderly or the lonely
· We can read more, play more games, call distant friends more and having more down time.
Technology can (and has) served the church well, both before and after the days of social distancing. Churches need to use technology wisely for the good of the members and the glory of God but technology can never replace the authenticity of meeting together in a wonderful sacred space as the family of God.
Matthew 6.19-21; 24-33
‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
‘No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.