New Normal

Ezra 3:12-13 “But many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders who had seen the first Temple wept aloud when they saw the new Temple’s foundation. The others, however, were shouting for joy. The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud noise that could be heard far in the distance.” (NLT)
Jerusalem and the Temple had been destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC. They took the Jews to Babylon where they would remain in exile for 70 years. Then the king decreed that the Jews could return to their homeland. When the Jews returned to Jerusalem, they started work on rebuilding the Temple. There was rejoicing when the foundation was completed. But the older Jews, who remembered the original Temple, started weeping because they could see the New Temple would be inferior to the original. 
The aftermath of this pandemic will be similar to the mixed emotions experienced by the Jewish exiles. As we start to return to “normal”, things will be different than before. There will be much rejoicing as people begin to resume familiar routines and activities. We will celebrate being able to congregate at church again!  But at the same time, there will be sadness and weeping. The isolation of “sheltering at home” will affect us in unknown ways. Many will still be fearful and anxious. Some will feel disconnected because they’re unable to show affection by shaking hands and giving hugs. Widespread economic hardships could follow with many businesses unable to reopen and workers having no jobs to return to. People will long in their hearts for the pre-virus world that is now part of history.   
How can we as followers of Jesus be prepared to respond to this new normal? We can pray that God can use us to bring the Good News of Jesus to a world experiencing mixed emotions. To the rejoicing, may we remind them that this is a time to offer thanks to God who brought us through the pandemic. To the weeping, may we bring comfort, hope, and new life that comes only from Jesus. The aftermath will soon be upon us.  May we, with the power of the Holy Spirit, seize this opportunity to affect many for the kingdom of God! 

Pastor Dan Schauer

Questions to Consider:

  1. How will you rejoice and worship God as we begin to return to a new normal?
  1. What are some ways God has gifted me to minister to those who will mourn?
  1. In what way can I shine a light to the future to those around me in the aftermath of this pandemic?