This is the dangerous time.
If we as a society move too quickly, we’ll need to return to our isolation because the virus has regained a foothold. This is a dangerous time because we’re itchy to get back to our lives and our jobs and our churches and to get on with all of our plans. (We’re even willing to go to extremes of personal sacrifice, say, giving up sitting in OUR pews, if only we can come together again.) We need to move slowly and deliberately even as we deeply desire to reopen our lives.
This is the dangerous time… but not just because we may rekindle the rate of infections and deaths.
This is a dangerous time because we desire to go back to a place and time that no longer exists.
We’re anxious and impatient. Like the Hebrews fleeing Egypt, we are tired of waiting in lines at Wegmans for manna and want to go back to normal. We want to go back to Egypt – to what was familiar and known – and we’re bitter and discouraged toward any leadership that suggests we can’t do that tomorrow.
We can’t do that. Ever. You know that. Things cannot be the same.
I’m not suggesting we are heading to a new Promised Land. We are, however, heading somewhere new, and there is a promise – but that promise isn’t about the land but about Who is with us.
The church has struggled with the burden of its glorious history and traditions for years. This is nothing new.
What is new is that we’ve been the Church without Walls for a few months now and what we really value has become clearer. We’ve learned a bit about who we really are, as well as what we are not.
What is new is that the needs of the community outside our walls (what walls?) have changed to include extensive unemployment and pervasive trauma.
What is new is we have discovered that we are far more flexible than we thought, and that this new world needs us to proclaim the transformative love of Jesus Christ in new ways.
Dangerous times indeed… especially if we try to return to what was.