We Knew How To Do Things
There is a claymation commercial by Best Buy that begins with a young woman saying, "You think you know your family. Then boom 2020 happens.
And you spend forever with them in the house." For many of us this commercial opening makes a lot of sense. Before the pandemic we knew how to do things because, even if we had not done it before ourselves, there was someone else who had. Whether we were at home or going to work or gathering for worship, we thought we knew ourselves.
Then the pandemic changed all of that. Even routine things like going to the grocery store became new. Suddenly we were learning so many new ways of being. Whether it was making a face mask match the rest of our clothes or learning the intricacies of live- streaming a worship service we adapted, learned, and continued to live our lives.
Now over the past few weeks we are experiencing things changing again as infection rates increase. More areas have additional mitigation measures instituted by the state of Illinois. Many congregations and schools are returning to being fully virtual, while restaurants and other businesses are restricting the number of people gathering inside. And in case you missed it, there was an Election Day last week too.
Yet, as 2020 has shown us, we can, and will, adjust to these changing situations. It will not be without its challenges and it will be tiring, but we can adapt. People have adjusted at home, at work, and even at church for months.
Instead of focusing on how things used to be, out of necessity we have experimented and adapted, which has helped us to become stronger and to realize how creative we are! We have tried new things that have worked so well that we wonder why we ever did it differently. At other times, we have had bright ideas that turned out to only be bright because they crashed and burned. But we have learned from the stumbles and mistakes and then tried something new.
As we continue to adapt and adjust in the weeks and months ahead, let us remember the call from the prophet Isaiah:
Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do 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 43:18-19 (NRSV)
Let us be filled with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love as we experiment with new things and grow in new ways that before March 2020 we could never imagine!
May the peace of Christ be with you during these challenging times. Grace and peace,
Bill Rev. William "Bill" McLean, II
Presbyter for Congregational Care
Presbytery of Southeastern Illinois