"Lockdown" has been declared the word of the year for 2020 by Collins Dictionary. ‘Zoom’ was a rare noun that has become a common verb. Other terms, like ‘unprecedented times’ and ‘pivot’ already annoy us.
Personally, I have been fascinated by the return of the word ‘essential’. The backdrop and opposite trends are ‘options’ and ‘choice’. Pre-Covid life was enriched by having multiple options. The more experiences I could choose, the more gratification would come my way. Options will return, but they will be less ‘opportunities-not-to-be-missed’, and more ‘optional’.
In the new normal, all choices are no longer equal, or as valid. Some things are now more ‘essential’ than others. Rendering others secondary. People have found restrictions have given them the opportunity to step back, or away from things. People desire to step back into a simpler life.
Now is a time for dialogue, both as individuals and as a church as we consider what is essential, and what is optional. What concerns are to the core to who we are? And what concerns are secondary? My read is this is a time to focus on the essential and keep things simple. To take our time before we re-activate secondary concerns.
I am sure the above sentiments will find broad acceptance. But how and who and where we decide what is essential, and what is not - that is a vexed question. It's a conversation I need to lead, facilitate, but not control. Looking forward to your input.
Rev David Rietveld
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