Pastor Hannah Wiswasser – Associate Pastor, firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s finally the month of May, and you know what that means! No more NSYNC/Justin Timberlake memes until next April and racecars! May is my favorite month of the year. While the Indianapolis Motor Speedway events have been condensed over the years, it’s still 2 full weeks of cars running around the Speedway. I admit my fingers are crossed for a more “normal” May. Certainly, some things won’t change. I don’t think vendors inside the track will ever go back to “cash only” again. Admittedly, I’m ok with this change. Carrying around my card is much easier than estimating how much cash I need for the day. But hopefully, we won’t have to wear facemasks this year, and things will be able to operate at full capacity.
I know we’ll never completely go back to “normal.” Our “normal” shifted in some fundamental ways. Some of those shifts were for the better. Jobs became more accessible for people who needed to work from home. People realized and appreciated the importance of childcare in new ways. Businesses and churches realized they could expand their audience and impact. But change was hard. Pivoting on a dime and occasionally still having to pivot on a dime is exhausting. Boundaries between work and family time are blurred. People across various fields are now burning out because they’ve been working nonstop for two years. So how do we process and accept our new normal?
The first step is to remember that people will choose to re-engage with society at different levels and at different times. People with complicating factors will re-engage slowly, and they may decide some activities aren’t worth the risk anymore. Others have been back to “normal” for months, maybe even a year. There will continue to be ebbs and flows.
For the church, we have to remember that we serve multiple audiences. We serve those people who show up, in person, on Sunday mornings. We also serve a population that will never set foot in our physical building. They will join us online and worship from wherever they are most comfortable. Liturgy shifts to make sure we include both people. Directions, communication, and guidance shift to make certain people joining us online have as much access as people who sit in the physical building. Livestreaming will not go away. For NewDay, we will probably continue to have pre-packaged elements available during communion no matter how far out from the pandemic we get. Our world has changed. Some things have returned to how they were before, but others will never be the same.
Through it all, God walks with us. God calls us to trust that change is ok, that it won’t destroy us. No doubt change is hard; I’ll be the first to admit that. My prayer is that we’ll continue to ask ourselves how we can make Sunday mornings, events, Bible studies, small groups, and other things in the church’s life more accessible. I pray that we’ll embrace some of the pandemic’s critical changes. I pray that we’ll listen to the Holy Spirit and God’s guidance as we seek to bring about positive change and share the love with our community and our world.
Regardless of your affinity for racecars, I hope you enjoy the month of May!