One of the more common phrases I hear or read at the moment is ‘when things get back to normal’. It’s an interesting phrase, full of assumptions.

First, it assumes a return to normal is possible. That medicine and science can and will invent a vaccine. When widely taken, Covid 19 will be in check – no longer a problem. Inconveniently, coronavirus’ are remarkably resistant to vaccines. Most experts predict some level of social distancing will remain for the foreseeable future.

Second, it assumes that we can go back. That CV restrictions will be nothing but a short term inconvenience. There are parts of Europe where they have returned streets to pedestrian and cycle traffic only, and they are loving it. Cities that prioritise people, not cars. Will they revert? Will we go back to as many face-to-face meetings in the future? Or will zoom meetings continue as an option? Will working remotely be more acceptable? Will more education be delivered online?

Third, the word ‘normal’, when used this way, carries almost moral connotations. It’s normal if you are sick to visit the doctor, in their surgery. If you are really sick, the doctor comes to you. But a phone consult is abnormal. It’s not a real check-up. What if the doctor can remotely check your vital signs? Then he talks to you online. Will that be part of the new normal? Was the old normal right, or simply what we were used to?

Such musings cause me to ask - what will church look like in the future? When we can, I anticipate churches will quickly, and gladly, re-embrace meeting together. But will our corporate gatherings go back to exactly as they were? Will our weekly spiritual rhythms be unchanged? Or will the post CV world bid the post CV church to adapt?

Whatever happens, Jesus is still Lord, and we will worship, obey, and proclaim him.

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