New Normal by Laura Gaffan – 3 June 2020

New Normal

I am a student by nature.

Learning something new refreshes me.  The subject can be almost anything, but you will most likely find my nose buried in a book or Google! This virus presented a whole new world of information and I found myself binging on all of the facts I could lay my eyes and ears on.  The problem was that not only was my knowledge growing, so was my hopelessness, restlessness, uncertainty and despair.  There was something new everyday; new statistics, new symptoms, new countries affected and new political wars being waged.

Around week three of isolation, a friend said something that roused my numb mind. After spending some time lamenting our current circumstances, she stated, “We just have no certainty now.” Wait, what?! “But we never have!”, was my response. What makes this any different than any other day?! Maybe I just needed to hear myself say it, but the truth is we aren’t promised tomorrow. Most of us have had the experience of answering the phone and hearing news that ushers you into a new normal. New normal is a term that I am not in love with. Everything changes from day to day, moment by moment – and what is normal anyway?

The reality is that there is only One constant and unchanging hope; God.

I shut off the news and opened my Bible.

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is thy faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
    to the soul that seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.

Lamentations 3:22-26

But I won’t sugar coat this. I am not good at plastering a smile on my face and telling you everything is fine when it clearly isn’t. My more melancholy personality sees and is actually comfortable in the beauty of the sadness. There are days when I am in the place between sleep and wakefulness, where reality sticks it’s unkind face close to mine and all I want to do is pull the covers over my head. Some days I am good at this, I lean in close to Him, others, well, I resemble a spoiled, rebellious teenager rather than a child of God. But His mercies are new every morning, so I peel the covers back and keep my eyes on God. The only constant my heart can trust in a world that seems out of control. Racial divide, injustice, economic uncertainty; an absolute powder keg of calamity in the face of a virus that has driven us to the edge of our frazzled nerves. But I bow my head and lift my hands to the only One big enough to see all our sorrow and hurt and still the torrent of tears which seem to flow, if not from my eyes, my broken heart.

Lord, have mercy on us all.

Thankfully, this world changes, but our God never does!

And so, like you, sweet reader, I wait. And I remind myself that I am not alone, God is there. And I meet with some of you on Zoom calls, or text, or regular phone calls and we wait, lament, pray and remind each other that we are here, together.

I keep digging through scripture and learning and leaning in and listening to God. And filming Sunday School lessons to share with families that remind us all of God’s great love story. I pray for you all by name and picture your sweet faces.

My greatest lament these days is that VBS cannot be what it was; that chaos of excited kids and adults. Of hot, sticky games and often, hot, sticky, amazing bible stories, told with passion, listened to by people knee to knee. Crafts patiently demonstrated. Snacks shared. Songs sung loudly, dance moves attempted and poured out as a mess of praise to God. But I come to you with a new normal this year. An online VBS.

We have been asked and are partnering with Banwell Community Church and Wheatley Baptist Church to video tape our lessons and offer them as a collaborative online VBS to families. We will put together packages filled with the resources that our families will need for the activities and lessons in this year’s VBS. And although the medium through which they hear the word will change, the message remains the same: “Jesus’ Power Pulls Us Through!”  This year, the 5 days will be spent exploring: Jesus’ power helps us do hard things, gives us hope, helps us be bold, lets us live forever and helps us be good friends!  How timely…I know I shouldn’t be surprised by this, but God NEVER ceases to amaze me!

As always, I covet your prayers and as always, I remind you that ministry sometimes is costly.  This year, our costs will be lower, but the resources do require a sacrifice on our part.  If you would like to support VBS this year, our regular options still exist and can be designated through our envelopes, (the church’s address is: 58 Division Street North, Box 56, Kingsville, ON, N9Y 2E8) eTransfer (which no longer requires a password!) and which has a designation for VBS right in the app! Check our Facebook page in the next few days for registration information.

I humbly ask you to prayerfully consider giving to this program. I believe our God is as able to communicate His love through our computers as He does when we are shoulder-to-shoulder or hand-to-hand. We as the church are still united heart-to-heart.

I love you church. If you drew breath this morning, His mercy was new and there for you to see.

Welcome to your new normal…for today.

With much love, 

Laura Gaffan