When This is All Over

Our family is down to our last 36 hours before the end of our isolation and quarantine. When this is all over, I get to freely hug my children again. I’m very excited to get back to normal household life. Like, eating dinner together in the dining room. Or playing our next round of Hunt a Killer in the Family Room. It will be great to shop for our own groceries again. We’ll get to have the whole family in the same car… But that’s all basically just a reset to three weeks ago. It’s thinking small. What about the big picture? Which life lessons do we hope to take with us?

What are we going to do when this is all over?

Think about it. We’re in the process of a massive cultural reset. And I really don’t think it’s as easy — or even as desirable — as a simple reset to, say, June of 2019. We’ve got a special chance to blend the old with the new. So what exactly will change when we’re done with COVID? And what will stay the same?

Our church’s Staff team was recently talking about this. And there’s something empowering about the realization that we don’t just have to go back to the “old ways” again. Our church’s shift to smaller Life Groups has been really beneficial. And we like the way that our regional model provides support for keeping Life Groups smaller and more agile, but also easily mergeable when circumstances require it. Outdoor worship gatherings can honestly be more fun and more visible, when weather conditions allow. Like: Why would we ever want to do Welcome Week worship gatherings indoors again?!? Baptisms in the cold, cold waters of the Cuyahoga River were really memorable! And even on the more personal level, there seems to be something beneficial about defaulting to walks instead of just sitting across the table from each other at Tree City Coffee (or wherever).

We’ve learned that the Church is a group of people who stick together through hard things. Hopefully that will be easier when we can actually be together! But how can we minimize people slipping through the cracks in transition? It’s going to be so lovely to get “extra-curricular” ministry opportunities back. Like Saturday morning basketball at the Rec… Or packing thirty people into an IHOP at eleven o’clock at night… Or casual conversation in the lobby of Bowman Hall… But will next year’s underclassmen know how to do these things? Or will those of us who remember “the old ways” need to lead the way for next year’s underclassmen rediscovering these joys?

We’re wondering if we may need to develop a significant ministry of kindness and forgiveness to help fill in the gaps that have widened over the course of the last year (political divides, racial divides, epidemiological divides, etc.). How can we repent of the ways that we’ve helped to foster a culture of self-centeredness and consumerism? How can we choose to continue in conscious counter-cultural choices — even after external factors are taken away?

These are conversations that need to happen over a longer period of time. But it seems like now is the time to start wondering. We need to create intentional space to think about these things! So we’re ready to make the most of the opportunities that present themselves when this is all over.

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