Faces on Faith: The new normal
I was asked recently to lead a small group study. Over the years this has always been something I enjoyed. Small groups create a special environment where people are able to trust one another enough to share their thoughts and feelings openly. Normally attendees are thankful for the opportunity to learn and grow. Now things are different. The new normal for leading small groups involves trying to relate to participants via Zoom. Preparing for the meeting was a challenge in itself. We had 12 people attend in-person and 14 joined via Zoom. We also had to find a way to show a video to both groups. To accomplish this, we had two TVs, a DVD player, and a mobile microphone. All went well until everything disappeared for those participating via Zoom! In the end, I went away feeling exhausted rather than uplifted. Things just didn’t seem the same.
Today we are living with a mandatory mask order. We are trying to keep our distance, which is opposite of what seems normal. In the next few weeks, school administrators, teachers, parents and students will have to navigate through the new normal.
So what are we to do? Let me return to the small group study I mentioned earlier. The subject was “Soul Keeping.” The author, John Ortberg, challenges us to be aware of and intentional about “feeding” our souls. Maybe that doesn’t sound normal. Many of us have grown up with the idea that having a strong will, a sound mind, and healthy body will get us through each day. But with the pandemic and all the additional stressors in our new normal, feeding the soul is critical. What feeds your soul? Listen to inspirational music, have a time of daily prayer and meditation or participate in a small group. Enjoy nature, and live gratefully. What I have found is a healthy soul nourishes the will, the mind, and the body.
In his Sermon on the Mount recorded in the gospel of Matthew, chapters 5-7, Jesus tells us: Do not be anxious about your life, but seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these other things shall be added unto you. In this time of the new normal, soul searching can be life giving. May the Shalom of Christ be with you!
The Rev. Larry L. Marshall is the pastor at the Captiva Chapel by the Sea.