‘New Normal’ – it may seem ironic to keep using this phrase, seeing how it has been in constant circulation in Singapore ever since the 2011 General Elections, and is, as a result, no longer new. Yet, as creatures of habit, many of us find it difficult to adapt to the present changes that have come with this COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to yearn for things to ‘go back to normal’, including being able to gather in large groups for meals and events, visit the homes of our loved ones, and move about Singapore freely without the need for a mask. Even more so, we wish that we can worship, pray, and serve together as a church once again, without restrictions!
Even if some of our minds have said ‘Yes’ to embracing the New Normal, many of our hearts have taken a longer time to be as responsive. Perhaps, we have found ourselves still wrestling in conversation with God and our communities, asking if it is really necessary to embrace this New Normal.
We are not alone. About 2,000 years ago, the early church was faced with a different New Normal that challenged everything about their deeply-rooted beliefs in God. Yet, God was the One orchestrating this transition and inviting them into the partnership.
WHAT WILL YOU DO
The early church responded to their ‘New Normal’ in two parts. Their initial response (Acts 10:14, 11:1-3) was not positive, because they were accustomed to the former ways and practices of the faith. However, this changed once they understood God’s desire to give the Gentiles the same gift of salvation (Acts 10:28-29, 11:17-18).
Because of the early church’s submission to God’s ‘New Normal’ plan, we get to enjoy a new life under the lordship of Jesus Christ. Our sins have been atoned for, and we can stand before God, clean and righteous not by our works, but by faith in Christ, who died for us and paid the price for our sins. Isn’t it a blessing that the early church laid down their old perceptions and allowed the Holy Spirit to move through them for the expansion of the Kingdom?
Though the ‘New Normal’ we are facing is not as extreme as that which the early church faced, we can, too, turn to God and seek an understanding of what He wants the church to do in a new way, today.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. – Isaiah 43:19 (ESV)