New Normal for a New Year
As we enter into a new year amid the pandemic, racial injustice, and political unrest I want share this prayer from Walter Brueggemann in his book “Virus as a Summons to Faith”. It is entitled “At the Edge of a New Normal” because truth is the normal is no longer. Note: while it focuses on the effect of the virus we certainly can add it the other “ills” that affect us!
Our “normal ways” are reassuring to us:
It is our normal way to slot people for wealth or poverty;
It is our normal way to classify people as “us” and “other”;
It is our normal way to prefer males to the other gender;
It is our normal way to distinguish heteros and the “others.”
[It is our normal way to dismiss the injustices that happen.]
Our usual normals make us safe, make us happy, leave us certain.
Only now our normal ways are exposed as constructs of privilege that cover over the reality of our neighborly situation.
In the midst of the virus we notice that the others are very much with us, and we are all vulnerable together
We sense the disruption, the loss, the deep dis-ease among us, and we want our old normal to be “great again.”
Except that we cannot!
Except that you summon us to now futures made sober by the pandemic; You require us now to imagine, to risk, and be vulnerable as we watch the new normal emerge among us:
the blind see, lepers are cleansed, the poor have good news;
students have debts canceled, the poor have health care,
workers have a living wage, the atmosphere breathes fresh air.
We want to return to the old normal that yield (for some) safety and happiness, but you dispatch us otherwise.
Your new normal for us requires some adjustment by us. And adjust we will. We will live and trust and share differently. “All things new” is a huge stretch for us. But we know it is your good gift to us; with wistfulness, we receive it, we embrace it, and we give thanks to you. Amen.”
loving God heart, mind, soul, and strength