Our world has radically changed since the Covid outbreak. As social distancing restrictions are starting to lift, there are genuine concerns that this is not the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Even if the health crisis passes, the personal, social and economic impact of this pandemic will be felt for many years to come.
Those who have lost loved ones will want to erase the year 2020 from their consciousness as would hundreds of thousands of people in Australia who have lost their jobs. A survey with nearly 1000 tradesmen has found close to 80% have had their work reduced, with their hours cut back by 20 percent. Someone in our church just lost her dad very recently (unrelated to coronavirus). His funeral could only be attended by a maximum of 10 people.
On the ABC News Breakfast three days ago, the chief executive of the International Air Transport Association warns that normal international travel will not happen until 2023! There goes your plans for an overseas holiday! Present social distancing norms such as the way we greet one another could remain indefinitely. I hope not but in a post Covid-19 world, we may not shake hands anymore or hug.
Alternative greetings like the elbow bump, the Vulcan salute, the Namaste hand prayer, and the ‘Wuhan shake’ (google it) may be the new norm, as with long queues at cafes, hair salons etc. Even churches have been forced to have a rethink about how to do church. We face a very uncertain future. It is no wonder everyone is desperate to know when things will go back to normal but will it ever? What will our post Covid-19 world look like?
Jesus’ original disciples experienced a similar thing when Jesus told them he would leave them. You could imagine the angst, pain, insecurity, uncertainty, confusion, anger they felt. Jesus told them a bunch of things to reassure them, the most important of which was, he would remain with them in the person of the Holy Spirit (John 14:18-26; 15:26; 16:10 & 13). He concludes with these words, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (16:33).
What reassuring and comforting words to anchor us as we move forward to an uncertain future!