There’s been a lot of talk about the ‘new normal’ – what life will be like when we ﬁnally emerge from Covid 19.
There’s no doubt many things will be ‘new’ – will we ever get back to shaking hands, or socialising as we did? No doubt many more people will be working from home and shopping online. Perhaps (for a time at least) pollution will be less, with less commuting and fewer ﬂights as businesses use video conferencing and holiday makers stay at home. Sadly, some aspects of the ‘new’ won’t be so good – many pushed into poverty as the global economy stalls, and those marriages which did not survive lockdown won’t be restored.
Some are hoping for a more radical ‘new’. During lockdown there was a welcome outbreak of neighbourliness, a greater appreciation of key workers, and less pressure to ‘perform’, but will that last? The Bible would question any hope of lasting moral change brought about by a pandemic! Job’s comforter is painfully realistic when he says ‘Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks ﬂy upward’ (Job 5:7). The psalmist says ‘The Lord looks down from heaven to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned aside… there is no-one who does good, not even one.’ (Psalm 14:2,3) As human beings we are naturally self-centred, self-orientated, and a pandemic won’t change that. But that is what the gospel of Jesus brings! Long before God had promised: ‘I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you a heart of stone and give you a heart of ﬂesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.’ (Ezekiel 36:26,27) And so the New Testament rejoices: ‘If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ’ (2 Corinthians 5:17,18) Here is the real ‘new’!
But how much is new? After all the Christian continues to live in a broken, groaning world, and to be at war with the old nature?
On pages 6&7 you’ll ﬁnd a guide to right expectations for the Christian life, and in the Theology Corner (p11) David Russell, vicar of Woodford has written a helpful article on ‘Now and Not Yet’ – the newness that we enjoy now, and the full ‘newness’ of the new Creation that very Christian eagerly waits for, when Jesus returns. For all who belong to him that will be a glorious ‘new normal’!