The new normal
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
It feels like, as a nation, we’ve been through a lot in the last ten years. Pike River, multiple earthquakes, terrorism and now a pandemic – all things that have made us think about how we live and treat one another.
As a family, we went for a walk the other day to hunt for bears in windows. We found 30! As we walked, we noticed people waving and saying hello to each other (from a distance!).
I asked my 13 year old daughter if she thought it was sad that it takes a crisis for people to come together. “A little,” she said. “But, I think that if everyone put bears in their windows every day, 24/7, it wouldn’t be the same.”
Maybe she’s right. Could there be a point where being nice to each other is no longer special, because everyone’s doing it? Yes, but sadly, we will probably never get to this point.
The problem is we forget things. Just as New Zealand has largely forgotten the way we treated each other after the earthquakes and terror attack, we’ll most likely forget bear hunting and waving at strangers a few months after we’re allowed back to work.
Matthew chapter 4 tells of how Jesus travelled throughout Galilee healing the sick and proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom. It says large crowds started following him. When he saw the crowds, he sat down on a mountainside to teach them (chapter 5). He starts by uplifting the mourning, the weak and the struggling, saying they are blessed. He then tells the crowds that they are the light in a dark world.
I’ve been thinking about this verse since the lockdown started. It feels like a cloud has moved over and covered the world in darkness. That darkness is not the virus itself, it’s fear and anxiety. How can I possibly be light in the darkness of Covid-19? How can I get people to notice something different about me, so that God is glorified? These questions are as relevant now as they ever have been. And they will continue to be relevant long after the lockdown is over, and life has returned to ‘normal’.
Take some time today to reflect on how you can be the light in your community during these days which are filled with the darkness of anxiety and fear.
Father, help me be the light in my community during this difficult time. Help me shine brightly and reflect your glory as I help others. Help me show others that faith will always conquer fear.