There is so much uncertainty in our faith communities this year that it’s hard to imagine what life will look like when we get back to “normal.” But that’s exactly the stuff of our dreams.
I’ve mentioned recently that I can’t believe all of the activities we took for granted prior to this year. We were so used to the status quo (in our activities, that is) that the changes are almost unbearable after that status quo has been ripped from us.
For Christ-seekers at churches across the United States — across the world for that matter — getting back to “normal” means being able to gather without fear of illness and/or fear of criticism. In fact, I’ve had to step back some of my criticism of pastors who were, in my opinion, too quick to want to open their doors again, long before any end of the pandemic is in sight.
After reflection and prayer, most of us have realized something about these boisterous pastors screaming about their “rights” to worship being infringed upon: they too were doing the best they could. They too feared their doors permanently closing and not being able to pay the electric bill.
Most all of us in the faith community long for something we didn’t know we could long for — the mundane and previously “boring” feeling of normal.
For most of us, normal means getting back to a lower level of political mudslinging and vitriol.
And that normal also means being able to hug our faith family at church without fear of how it will be perceived and what risks we are taking. To most of us Christians, back to normal means worshiping in ways that we are most comfortable — good, bad, or indifferent.
The election is behind us, or at least the official election is. But normal is going to be a while in coming, Christian or otherwise.
In fact, as Christians we know that the outcome of the presidential election (and the ensuing chaos) is not what defines us. The normal we seek may not come until the end of this pandemic, and even then it will be slow in coming.
But our Great Commission charge in putting our faith into action is the same as it always has been — to be hands and feet of Jesus in a world that so desperately needs him.
Christopher Dixon is chief operating officer of eLectio Publishing (electiopublishing.com) and pastor of West Finley Baptist Church near Fordland, Mo. He is also a Word&Way trustee.