“The New Normal” is a phrase we hear often in the media these days. These words refer, of course, to the new habits we have undertaken because of the corona virus. Many of us are sheltering in our homes, practicing social distancing, frequently washing hands, sanitizing everything we touch, and attending meetings by Zoom and other electronic means.
Yesterday I had two very different experiences. In the afternoon, cars began arriving at my neighbor’s home. As guests poured into the house, the music roared full blast from the radio. The problem was that it blared from a car parked in their driveway, beneath my windows. The bass volume was so loud that my floors reverberated with every beat.
In many churches, there is an element of worship called “passing the peace.” Those sitting nearby may shake your hand, speak a word of peace, share the peace sign, or (if you’re especially close) offer a kiss. The expression, “passing the peace,” conjures up images in my head of sprinkling a little peace on our friends, like we would shake salt or pepper onto our food. If only it were that easy! People would be lined up in grocery stores, scarfing up boxes of peace from the shelves, just in time for the holidays.
Through the next few months, the yard lay seeded and covered in straw, eventually hidden under a heavy blanket of snow. We wondered if anything could survive the cold and harshness of our northwest Ohio weather. By spring, we were thrilled to see tiny green shoots begin to resemble a lawn. The mystery plants near the house turned green again. Everything survived!
The graduation cards read, “Good Luck! You did it! Congratulations on your outstanding effort! You’re going to go far! Reach for the stars! Insert money here.” I was hoping to find something a little more heart-warming and perhaps God-honoring.Yes, it takes effort for most students to get good grades. And some graduates have worked very hard to pass all their classes in good standing. But have we thought about our God-given gifts and abilities? The brains He blesses us with? The wisdom, guidance, and encouragement of the Holy Spirit as we’ve “burned the midnight oil”? OK, maybe I should write greeting cards … or at least find another place to shop.
Several women commented, but no one could explain the reason that the day of Jesus’ horrific suffering could possibly be called good. One woman was so intrigued that she discussed the Bible story with her family at dinner that night. She went to her computer to search for the meaning of Good Friday. She printed an answer, brought it back to the group of women, and reported, “Good Friday is the day on which Jesus died on the cross for our sins. And that is good for us.”