During July the ‘lock down’ is being relaxed. While I have some trepidation about the consequences of this if as a population we don’t act responsibly; I am relieved that we are returning some normality to life. Though it won’t be normal as we know it. There will be continuing restrictions, the nervousness of previously familiar situations and new habits to learn: not shaking hands, one-way systems and keeping 2m (or is it 1m) apart wherever we are.
As part of this relaxation of restrictions, places of worship can open, firstly for prayer and then for some aspect of worship. I found this announcement amusing in that prayer isn’t reliant on a building, and although the building can host people, many of the familiar aspects of worship such as singing and even socialising between groups is still prohibited. This won’t be normal as we know it, but I do welcome the ability to be inside a church building even if it will be different. The other reason I found this amusing is that the Church never really shut, it closed the building, but church is more than bricks, stone, glass and mortar. While the building was not available to us.
- We worshipped online with our services on YouTube and Facebook serving both our church and engaging with people who would never step in a church building.
- We have met together on Zoom for prayer, for social events and meetings.No mean feat for some less comfortable with technology
- We have continued to serve the community through ‘Assist’. Joining with others to provide support for the most vulnerable in the area and those advised to self-isolate.
- We have continued our kids' activities for children of the village through TST Online- see the rainbow’s on the Vine Centre window as you pass.
I have seen a similar thing in my work in industry with people working differently, overcoming some challenges of lockdown but enjoying unexpected benefits of a better work-life balance. We have taken an extraordinary situation and made it a new normal. As lockdown is relaxed and things open up, I hope (and pray) that we can take the best of the ‘lockdown normal’ and blend it with the best of the ‘pre-lockdown normal’ to have a new normal, that is different to but better than before.
If you're surprised that churches never really shut have a look at your local church’s website or Facebook page. It is likely to be awash with opportunities and activities.