I heard it again on the radio today… ‘so glad things are getting back to normal.’ I would describe ‘things’ as far from normal. To me it seems that the world is lurching from one crisis to another, or am I watching the wrong news channel?   

I know what you are thinking because I know you follow this blog avidly, checking the Nexus ICA website every day to see if a new one has come out. ‘She wrote about this before.‘ ‘She has run out of ideas.’ But the truth is, my ideas usually get put into ‘permanently delete’ on my laptop and where I land is writing about what I see. And what I see is that somehow, at least here in the UK, we are still talking about getting back to normal, back to something we once had. Even in the church. 

Now, if we are talking about getting back to the original purpose of man, then I am all for it. But that is not really what I am hearing or seeing. It’s more about getting everything up and running how it was before and as believers, I would question if we want to be so quick to do this. Getting back to something we once had is not celebrated in Scripture nearly as much as pressing on towards the future, forgetting the past and discovering something new in God.

I believe that there is so much to explore that is new and never thought of as we begin to socialise, meet, and worship together. Let’s try and be honest before God about what He actually does not want us to get back to. Let’s look without fear at a future that does not contain our assumptions and comforts and build a relationship, a meeting, a time of worship not on the “knew” but on the “new” that God is building and revealing. 

As Isaiah says in chapter 48 verse 7: 
“From now on I will tell you of new things, 
    of hidden things unknown to you. 
They are created now, and not long ago; 
    you have not heard of them before today. 
So you cannot say, 
    ‘Yes, I knew of them.’ 

Or as the Message Bible puts it: 

 I have a lot more to tell you, 
    things you never knew existed. 
This isn’t a variation on the same old thing. 
    This is new, brand-new, 
    something you’d never guess or dream up. 
When you hear this you won’t be able to say, 
    ‘I knew that all along.’ 

Maybe the worship you had at your church before the pandemic was amazing. I know it was at mine. But I am still not in a hurry to repeat those old patterns when I see God has been and is doing something new. I choose to have the courage to press into something I’d never guess or dream up; something that I didn’t and couldn’t know all along. Something that could only be God. 

My final word will be to our arriving first years at Nexus ICA. I am so glad you did not choose the obvious. I’m glad you didn’t listen to the miserable reports about Higher Education in the news. I’m glad that whatever circumstances you’ve had to push through in these last 2 years, you still have the courage and faith to set your hearts on pilgrimage (Ps 84). I am praying that you will go from strength to strength as this year, and the following years unfold. God is with you!