What does the future hold for the church as we contemplate moving out of pandemic lockdowns and shuttered church buildings?
What is God saying to us, and how are we called to act as participants in this ‘New Normal’?
God declares, “LOOK! I am making a new thing, now it springs up, do you not realize it?”
This past Saturday the Synodical of Central, Northeastern Ontario and Bermuda hosted a Bible Study led by Rev. Dr. Pat Dutcher-Walls, Professor of Hebrew Scripture at the Vancouver School of Theology. If you missed it, there is still an opportunity to hear and reflect on the prophetic word Pat offered to us all.
Pat began the study by telling us us that she leapt to Isaiah 43:14-21 when she was invited to speak on the theme ‘Our New Normal’ by the synodical. She chose the text because the prophet Isaiah was bringing a message hope with the promise of a ‘new thing’ to the exhausted and disillusioned exiles living under state arrest in Babylon. Aligning this with our churches’ living through the pandemic while longing for the day when we might return to the way it was, Pat unfolded for us the kind of future God is preparing for us and calling us to live into when we return to ‘normal’.
Through Pat’s translation of the text from the original Hebrew we walked through important repeating phrases and active participles that point us to the kind of future God is preparing for us in the days ahead. Catching the phrases that look to the past and then hearing what God promised the exiles helped us to then focus in on the consistent presence and compassion of God for the people of this troubled world. Look! there is a new normal that God has planned for us and we have responsibilities in it. Do you not see it?
If you missed this bible study (or would like to go through it again), it is now available for you to view through the synod’s private Youtube site. All you need to do is email me, Tori Smit, at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will happily send you the link.
Also, click on this link, to find the handout Pat refers to in the study. Print it out in colour if you can and keep it beside you when you view the video.
We hope this word fills you with hope, compassion and a deep desire to live into this new normal.