Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation-if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. Come to him, a living Stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God's sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in scripture:
"See, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame."
To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe,
"The stone that the builders rejected
has become the very head of the corner,"
"A stone that makes them stumble,
and a rock that makes them fall."
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Once you were not a people,
but now you are God's people;
once you had not Received Mercy,
but now you have received mercy.
--1 Peter 2:4-9
I have been thinking a lot about the re-opening of states during this pandemic. Not that states were ever really “closed.” Some things were, and still are, being put on hold. Opportunities for large gatherings—sporting events, church services—are still not Considered safe enough to reopen, really. But restaurants and some retail have been told they can operate in a modified fashion. Some are taking the steps they need to keep customers safe. Some are finding it challenging to strike the balance between being in the service industry and needing to limit how many can be served at one time. In other words, it’s still a bumpy ride.
All this effort seems geared toward attempting to get the economy going again and returning to “normal.”
And that’s an odd thing…in my opinion…for us to be striving to achieve.
See: “normal” and getting wheels grinding for our economy are not necessarily the lessons I would have hoped we would have gained in this time of pandemic time-out. In fact, there is a whole lot of what had been considered “normal” that I do not think we should accept as “normal.”
· Should white vigilante justice be “normal,” allowing white people to shoot black people because we think they might be criminals?
· Should we want to rush back into the “normal” of school shootings and gang violence taking out young people in the beginning of their lives?
· Should we accept a healthcare system that lacks proper personal protection equipment for doctors, nurses, and EMTs?
· Should we be OK with large meat processing plants that have allowed infection to spread among the workers not to mention the many reports over the years of unsanitary conditions for the animals leading to food-borne illnesses?
· Should we consider normal pollution that has been choking rivers and streams and causing us to have days where it was considered unsafe for some to step outside and breathe the supposedly fresh air?
These are just some of the “normal” that I think have been accepted for far too long, and we should not be in a rush to go back to this. In fact, I think it might be nice to consider how we move away from this type of people that we have been and look to being made more into God’s people. A people that takes to heart that love of God is expressed by loving each other, caring for each other, valuing each other, and recognizing that those things that attack and destroy the creatures of God are the very things we are pledged to stand against.
My prayer for this time continues to be that we rediscover what we have lost along the way of being such a productive people. For far too long we have labored for the purposes of an economy that lives on the gold standard and not the God standard. Let’s begin to recognize in this pandemic that we are a people more connected than we might have otherwise thought. And let us rediscover an old way and turn our attention toward caring for each other and all of creation…animal, vegetable, and mineral.