There are events in life that cause us to measure time in terms of “before” and “after”. We clearly mark time in our stories as one or the other. For example: “Before 9-11 we didn’t have as much security at airports.” Or, “after Coronavirus we will be more careful about sanitizing.”
What was “before” is past, what is “after” is future. Many of us don’t like change. We would prefer if nothing changed from what we have been comfortable with, or the way we have always done things.
The problem is that change is one of the only things we can be sure of! Nothing stays the same. The seemingly smallest changes in patterns bring change in the overall outcome. I saw a news story about restaurants in States that have reopened public eating establishments. The customers are predominantly sticking with take-out or delivery, and the dining rooms are still empty.
When we do something for 15-30 consecutive days it becomes a habit. Our new habit of eating take-out, delivery, or cooking at home may stick in many communities, even as restaurants begin to re-open for dine-in. This is not a change any of us may have expected, and I don’t think we would have chosen it, but it happened.
The change happened with or without our approval. In fact, when the issue became life-and-death, the change was gladly embraced by most people. Now that we are talking about “coming back” I hear some people asking “why”? At least some folks are more comfortable remaining distanced.
I can recall arguing for more on-line meetings and fewer long drives or expensive flights for business meetings that basically served no real purpose. No one cared back then. Now businesses have been forced to move away from expensive, time-consuming travel to more productive uses of technology.
Likewise, churches have changed by embracing video streaming and group meeting software. Churches that may have never considered having a camera in the room are now using that technology. Often, change is not a matter of choice, but a matter of necessity. Somehow that can make change a little easier to accept.
Then there are the “before” and “after” factors within us. Many of our friends were avid huggers, but now have to refrain from such gestures. Even shaking hands has become a moment of trepidation. I think more about the cleanliness of the surfaces I touch than ever before.
The way we do business and church has changed. What has not changed is our responsibility to ourselves, each other, and our planet. Regardless of where and how we eat or worship, or how we socialize or distance ourselves, we are all neighbors and fellow travelers on this planet and we all depend on each other.
Change will happen, often when we least expect it, and whether or not we approve. What cannot change is the love of our Creator toward us. Be happy; you are loved.
Blessings and Peace to You All,
Rev. Dr. David Bridges is the pastor at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Grove. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. St. Andrew's worship service is at 10 a.m., every Sunday, and broadcast on KWXC 88.9 FM at 5 p.m. on Saturday and 7:30 a.m. on Sunday.