For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty tired of the pandemic and the constantly changing restrictions. At the time of writing the Prime Minister has announced the new ‘tier’ system and by the time you read this, things will have probably changed again! (There is talk of the need for another full lockdown).
It seems that gradually, over the last four weeks, people have got more used to the idea of being back in the church building and I think some people think that we are now back to ‘normal’ or at least as normal is things are likely to be for months.
As I have said throughout the pandemic and lockdown, it will be a very long time before we get back to anything resembling normal. In fact, I’m not convinced we will ever fully get back to the way things used to be in pre-pandemic days. And maybe we shouldn’t. Maybe we should take this opportunity to find new ways to do things. The ancients tell us there is a time for everything and that includes change. Change is uncomfortable; most people, including myself, don’t like it much, and yet it is a fact of life. We cope better with change if we accept it and embrace it and thereby have some control over it than if it is thrust upon us. The pandemic and its accompanying restrictions have been thrust upon us, how we respond to it has not – we can shape it. We can choose to do new and exciting things, rather than just try to work out how we can do the things we used to do.
Do not be surprised if the government brings in new restrictions.
Do not be surprised if we have to go back to online services only.
Do not be surprised if Christmas services are very different this year and some things are cancelled.
Do not be surprised if your Christmas Day and who you spend it with is different and maybe not how you ideally want it to be.
Embrace the new things we will do this year.
Give thanks for what we do still have.
Be generous to those who are suffering the effects of the pandemic more than us.
There is a time to keep and a time to throw away – now is the time to throw away the idea that the rest of this year will be anything like any other Remembering, Advent and Christmas seasons you have ever lived through before!