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A New World Can Rise – A Reflection

May 8, 2020
An evening on the deck

As we watched the sun go down and the firelight flicker there were many thoughts going through my mind and my heart. We have been living in this new “reality” for two months now.

I have been intentional in trying to limit my news intake and even Social Media. There is so much out there that it can truly overwhelm a person. The negativity, hate, and fear mongering can quickly suck you into a swamp, or to use an analogy from The Princess Bride, into the Pit of Despair.

The church I serve is being intentional in making sound decisions when it comes to the new reality of Virtual Church and how to approach the day sometime in the future when we will return to the building. While I have emphasized and re-emphasized the fact that the church is more than a building, the questions continue.

One thing that I believe with all of my heart is that the church post COVID-19 will look a lot different from the way it had been before. We will be entering a new world and reality. It isn’t going to look like the church of the “good old days” for some time (if it ever will). For some that is a cause for mourning. For me it is a cause for hope.

We continue to be the hands and feet of Christ in this current reality and I believe we will be challenged to do even greater things in the post COVID-19 world. When John described the new world in the Book of Revelation, he shared this vision: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. (Rev 21:1)

This world, this light which we will emerge into from the darkness, will be a new opportunity. The church has an opportunity to change. We have the chance to break down barriers and unite together in being the light and love of Christ to this world desperately in need of healing.

In his poem “Earthquake (Isaiah 52) Thomas Merton had this to say about that new reality. Read his words with an open heart and let them sink deep into your soul. These are words of hope and a future for us and for all of God’s creation.

And say
The old wrongs are over
The old ways are done
There shall be no more hate
And no more war
My people shall be one.

So tell the earth to shake
With marching feet
Of messengers of peace
Proclaim my law of love
To every nation
Every race.

For the old world is ended
The old sky is torn Apart.
A new day is born
They hate no more

They do not go to war
My people shall be one.

(The Collected Poems of Thomas Merton, pp. 701-703)

This is our calling… this is God’s commission for each of us as we walk together into this new world!

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