In these days of doom and gloom, it’s the rare newscast that doesn’t include a reference to the “new normal."
I confess I can’t stand that term, and I inwardly cringe whenever I see or hear it.
I think it’s because the term “new normal” always seems to suggest a step back rather than a step forward -- a step down rather than a step up. It always seems to imply that undesirable circumstances will never get better, and we should just give up and accept that things won’t change. These examples come to mind
- High unemployment and low economic growth are the “new normal.”
- Living in fear of terrorist attacks at school, at church, and in the workplace is the “new normal.”
- Social distancing, bans on in-person gatherings, and isolation from family, friends, and faith are the “new normal.”
- Political, religious, and cultural polarization and unrest are the “new normal.”
But giving up on the possibility that things will ever get better is allowing ourselves to be conformed to and shaped by all that is “of the world.”
Further, it denies everything that Jesus Christ talked about and modeled.
Jesus made it his business to be anything but “normal.” In fact, Jesus constantly transformed humankind’s perception of what was/is normal and possible by completely turning things upside down pretty much daily. I imagine the news reporters in Jesus’ day issuing dire proclamations on Good Friday about the “new normal” that would ensue following his death…
And then came Easter morning, the walk to Emmaus, and the call for humankind to be transformed into instruments of hope and love, spreading the Good News, feeding the sheep, and standing up for the least, the last, and the lost.
Above all, through his life and death Jesus taught us that God’s plans for good always win. Do we dare allow ourselves to be transformed?