Might the emergence from the numerous restrictions necessitated by COVID-19 be an opportunity for a much-needed “reset?” The significant social changes that lasted for longer than a year altered most of our patterns and practices. Now, with the lifting of restrictions, we are given a unique opportunity, if we will take it, to reexamine our choices and priorities.
Instead of just automatically resuming all the activities we engaged in before the pandemic, we can carefully evaluate what is vital and essential, meaningful and life-giving, and what is less so. A great deal of the “learning” that occurred over the past year is that so much of what used to consume our time, energy and resources really weren’t that important.
At the same time, it was excruciating to realize what we were missing, unable to do, or with whom we unable to spend our time.
In many ways, we have been given the gift of a new beginning. We can let go of the baggage we have been carrying for so very long. With a lighter load, we can focus more of our energy on re-establishing relationships, even mending those that were fractured prior, and recommitting ourselves to high purposes.
For many of us, this re-creation is a God-given gift. It is not that God caused the pandemic, but rather God took what was bad and used it for good.
God is good at creating new beginnings, even out of darkness and despair. God has done it over and over throughout the history of humankind. The Bible opens with a beginning and closes with a beginning. Creation is the first word, and new creation is the last word.
So now is the time to determine how we will use, if we will at all, this new gift, this God-given new beginning. This gift should be a source of bright new hope. While we are not yet what we should be, we’re not what we once were.
Making the necessary choices and establishing the new priorities that will fuel our continued transformation will not be easy and will not come quickly. We will need God’s constant love and will need God’s continued presence and guidance.
Thankfully, God has already promised these to us, along with God’s spirit, to empower us.
It will be intriguing to see what we each do with our specific “reset” and new creations. May we respond with joy and thanksgiving!
Pete Berntson is the pastor of Church of the Palms United Methodist Church in Okatie.