Are We Guarding the Good In The New Normal?
By Lim Ai Lin
On June 21, 2020, The Straits Times ran an article with the headline, “Cheers to a new normal”. The article profiled four groups of individuals and the activities that they each undertook to commemorate Phase Two of Singapore’s reopening from the Circuit Breaker period.
The top “to-do” activity converged around physical meet ups with their loved ones. Interestingly, the article featured a couple, Robert and Beth, who met via the dating platform, “Coffee meets Bagel”, and started dating online during the Circuit Breaker period. They “celebrated” by having their first face-to-face, physical date over kaya and bee hoon at a coffee shop! Clearly, the privilege of physical contact was not dampened by the simple food fare and location.
I believe our “celebration” of Phase Two would not veer too far from these individuals. It is heartwarming to know that relationships remain a priority. More importantly, when we live as relational beings, we reflect one aspect of being made in the image of God. That said, before we start filling our schedules with appointments and gatherings, it is good to pause and consider one very important relationship–our relationship with God.
Over the past two months, there have been many testimonies of how working/studying from home and the restrictions on social events have freed up more time for believers, with reports of better attendance for online church services, prayer meetings, and bible studies. Working adults who used to have to rush to work every morning found they now had a little more time to start the day with devotion and prayer. Regular attendance at cell groups was now possible even if one had to work overtime. After all, cell group is just a click away and one could have dinner simultaneously and politely by turning off the camera for ten minutes.
For school-going teenagers who were previously preoccupied with schoolwork and co-curricular activities (CCAs), a reduced syllabus and cessation of CCAs allowed them to be more involved with church activities and outreach ministries like the Singapore Youth For Christ. It is therefore unsurprising that spiritual growth is experienced and evident in this period. God’s people have tasted the sweetness of abiding close to Him and the joy of serving His kingdom purposes.
Moreover, the abrupt halting of our daily routine underscores the transient nature of earthly pursuits and leads believers to understand the call to set their minds “on things above” (Colossians 3:2). The church has grown, and the work of the gospel expanded.
So what happens now in the “new normal”? Countries are treading cautiously as economic and social activities resume. Measures have been put in place to prevent a second wave of outbreak. What measures are we putting in place to guard the good that we have experienced? How can we guard our time with God as our schedules change in the next few months? How can we continue to give time and effort to serve God’s purpose and God’s people?
Prayerfully, the intimacy that we have experienced with the Lord in the past two months will motivate us to protect the practice of spiritual disciplines and to continue to grow our involvement in ministry.
Just like the couple, Robert and Beth, who found a genuine relationship during the Circuit Breaker period and are making plans to visit places like “Haji Lane and the Bugis area”, I hope we share Robert’s sentiment, “Meeting her more often is what I look forward to the most.”
In our “new normal”, let us treasure our first love!