We’re moving forward into the next normal. We’re not going back. We’re going “next.”
My Timehop was well-timed. “The church needs to gather…then scatter” popped up the same week announcements about churches reopening were pending in my area. During this season, we’ve been scattered, and we’re about to gather again. I kept hearing people talk about being “back together.” I get it. We want to see familiar people. We want to worship together. We want our routines.
But let’s not miss out on some of the important lessons we’ve learned, the opportunities this odd and unique season has brought us. Let’s not go back. Let’s take the best of the past, the most essential, as well as the lessons we’ve learned through this season. Let’s build the best “next normal” together.
We don’t need the building to worship. Even when we’re physically apart, we can spiritually gather. We can encourage each other. We can meet with God and let him challenge us, teach us, and direct us. We’ve served each other—and many people we didn’t know well or come in contact with often—because of our circumstances, not in spite of them. We need to continue to look through a fresh enough perspective that we are able to see how we can and should connect with others instead of relying on our known routines.
Let’s not sell ourselves short (and God) because we want to return to something. He’s broken some things down for us during this time. We get to build again.
Maybe that makes us tired. We’re weary over the emotional, financial, and relational toll this has put on us. We’re irritable, and we could easily carry our frustrations into church with us. Our worship might be tainted, because we get too focused on the distractions of some of the restrictions we no longer want (or the restrictions we want but others push aside). This is less about impositions and more about an invitation. This is less about limitations and more about possibilities.
If we focus more on God than ourselves, if we don’t impose our preferences and justifications onto him but let him take the lead, we’ll learn and grow and worship well.