Despite the fact that, at the time of writing, we have the second highest infection rate in Europe (Sweden is first) bringing with it fears of a potential second wave of coronavirus infections, it certainly appears as if the government is slowly and determinedly bringing us out of lockdown! Thousands of non-essential shops can open as of the 15th June, along with zoos and safari parks, and churches have been told that they can reopen for ‘private prayer’. People may meet outside in groups of 6 as long as social distancing is observed, and single adults may form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household. However, as previously mentioned by the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, the restrictions will continue to ease in slowly and people will have to get used to a ‘new normal’. So what will life be like post this coronavirus crisis, and what are our hopes for the ‘new normal’? Well for some the new normal will be very painful as they miss loved ones who have sadly died, but others have expressed a hope and a desire that we might move into a new kinder, gentler society, where people of all persuasions, classes and colour are valued for who they are and adequately rewarded for the work they provide. Indeed, this terrible experience has shone a light upon the status of those who were previously considered to be in low paid, menial employment but whose roles have now been properly recognised as being essential to the wellbeing of the country. This was illustrated by the ten week period of ‘clapping for carers’, which initially started off as being purely for the NHS, but rapidly expanded to cover carers, ‘key workers’ and other essential services as people’s awareness and appreciation of one another grew. This kindness is certainly a lesson that we will need to carry on into the new normal, as no doubt there will be many more in need of such kind consideration as they struggle to make ends meet due to the loss of jobs and the nature of a weak and fragile economy.
The Christian will be reminded of the famous words of St Paul who, when describing the young church at Corinth reminded them, “That the body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all it’s parts are many, they form one body….the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you! On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable” (1 Corinthians 12.12,21-22). Of course, although this lesson was aimed at the Christian church, it is equally applicable to any Christian in society, indeed it’s a mark of good neighbourliness, care and concern. It encourages us not only to not take one another for granted but also demonstrates that we are all important and that we all have a role to play. I think this is fairly well summed up in the song that we so often hear the children sing in school:
When I needed a neighbour
Were you there, were you there?
When I needed a neighbour were you there?
And the creed and the colour
And the name won’t matter
Were you there?
If we can confidently sing the last verse ‘wherever you travel, I’ll be there’, then perhaps the ‘new normal’ will be something that we can all look forward and aspire to.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart. The second is this: Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. Mark 12.30-31
2 thoughts on “What Are Your Hopes For The ‘New Normal’?”
” Of course, although this lesson was aimed at the Christian church, it is equally applicable to any Christian in society, indeed it’s a mark of good neighbourliness, care and concern. ”
You are perhaps then assuming that all men are essentially neighbourly and kind?
On one level this is true; if the society in which you live has some kind of Christian influence. Human beings are tribal and live their lives in some degree of conformity to social norms.
However when things change politically our survival mode kicks in , and we do what we have to do in order to survive.
The frailty of morality is attested to all through history; tyrants arise and rule through subjugation and awful cruelty, from Genghis Khan to Adolf Hitler.
Very few there are willing to stand up to evil and lay down their lives for truth and goodness.
The more I reflect on our human condition the more I believe that it is the few evil and ruthless people and the few good and self sacrificing individuals that shape our society. The vast majority of the rest of us either choose not to or simply don’t bother themselves with understanding the prevailing zeitgeist .
If it were not for the intervention of a holy and compassionate God through our Lord Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit , I wonder whether human life would become but a series of brutal regimes in which leaders battled to maintain conttol and individuals just tried to survive..
John 16: 7,8 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate[a] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about[b] sin and righteousness and judgment:”
2nd Thessalonians 2 “5 Do you not remember that I told you these things when I was still with you? 6 And you know what is now restraining him, so that he may be revealed when his time comes. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but only until the one who now restrains it is removed.
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Yes, I agree. But it’s up to the church to model the new creation and better forms of human interaction. Their will always be despots and dictators, and too few good men and women, but we try to make a difference where God has placed us and encourage the people that we meet to see things more with ‘the mind of Christ’ Philippians 2.