A blog by the Rev Liz Blythe
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth;
for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…
And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God…”
The first people who endured the stormy waves of the Atlantic to settle in North American had done so hoping to create a new society that would be a city on a hill for the world. They had, at least as the story goes, fled religious persecution. Much like refugees flooding across the Mediterranean trying to find a better future and safer shores for their families, the Pilgrims (as they are romantically called) were Christians fleeing Christian persecution. They wanted to create a society where they would feel safe, where their children would not be made to convert or endure violence or persecution. It was a high goal, one that they were not able to attain because they never really left behind the fetters of the society they had left. There was still persecution – now it was of people who did not obey their puritanical standards for behaviour and decorum, or of the indigenous people who were deemed heathen to their narrow religious sensibilities. In a new place, on a new continent they recreated an old system.
Currently I’m hearing a lot of people talking about ‘normal’. There’s talk of the ‘new normal’, and talk of ‘returning to normal’. I’m not really prepared to embrace either of those ideas. This, right now, is so far from ideal that I would not want to perpetuate it as a sustained normal in the future. But, just as much, I would say what was was not ideal. We have been given a poorly packaged gift in this lockdown. Life as it was has stopped and we can choose how we get it going again. Will we recreate the old systems that benefit the wealthy and powerful, or will we come up with a new way that truly shows forth God’s vision of a new Jerusalem?
Take a look at this sweet video I found a while back. It is a very hopeful vision for what we could learn now, what could become of this and what kind of ‘future normal’ we could create.