Tempting isn’t it; to get back to the routine, back to normality?
For some, getting back to the routine of school life is bliss; a rest after the holidays. For others, it is a grinding inevitability. For most it is a little of both. The idea of routine being ‘tempting’, though, is an odd one. Routine is a necessity, in fact probably better for your health than an endless changing of timetable. A little break, a change may also be needed, but it only serves to point up the importance of the norm. Even if we wanted a constantly changing environment, few of us could afford it.
So why do I use the word ‘tempting’?
Most of us adopt certain mantras and sayings. They help us to communicate on a communal level: “Well back to it!”, “Here we go again!”, “You’d think we’d never been away!” etc. How much do they reflect reality?
The fact is we have been away. The children have grown and so have we. Many have had an eventful summer, to say the least; others have thought long and hard about something. We never do anything the same again, nor do we go backwards. These sayings and the feelings they engender are a new form of keeping us in line, and we acquiesce.
As superstitions about taking down Christmas decorations and doing our washing before midnight on the 31stDecember, these quips and one-liners are a way of getting the herd back on track and the wheels of production turning again.
Except it’s worse. The Secular West denies the aspect of the sacred or higher time. One of the consequences is that life really can be seen as one thing after another: drudge, as well as a lack of a sense of humour, seems to be the hallmark of secularism.
Christians do not believe in this repetitive, pointless or inevitably tedious view of time or life. For us, there is no such thing as the norm, only resurrection and renewal. We bring this newness every time we act.
All things new
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be reflecting on this attitude towards our lives and why we can never go back to being ‘normal’ if we are Christians. Meanwhile, I leave this with you from the Book of Revelation:
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new! “Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Revelation 21, 1-5