A Deviancy from Pursuing Normal
– Brian Lee, January 2021
Zeteo: the Biblical Greek word for seeking. This is a monthly faith reflection piece from different members of our community. May we seek first His kingdom in the way we draw reflection from our lives and the way we engage with the world around us.
We have now entered 2021 – a new year, a potential new chapter, and shall I say, a new… normal? The phrase new normal has been one of the most popular terms in our 2020 conversations, from embracing a work-from-home, sanitizer-rich, and masked lifestyle to the anticipation of a COVID-free, handshake and shoulder rubbing friendly normalcy. Even in our church life, Zoom worship services and fellowship gatherings in Discord or Hangouts have gone from a foreign, novel technology to something as common and routine as turning the corner into Culloden Street every Sunday.
However, it is in our settling into this “normalcy” that we have grown into a sense of complacency once again. We flip our devices to tune into service “meetings”. We log onto Zoom to “check in” and get our dose of fellowship. We might occasionally send a “hi,” “how’s it going,” or “I’ll pray for you” via Whatsapp or text to our fellow brother and sisters and then we have received our weekly dose of Christian life. Is this all there is for life as a Christian in the new normal?
Our God is a living God. Through modeling through the life of Jesus, he also showed us that a life pursuing after Him compels us to be set apart or different from the world (in fact, that’s the root definition of the word “holy”).
You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.Matthew 5:38-42
As shown by Jesus’s teachings from the Sermon on the Mount, the life that He has called us to pursue is never viewed as “normal” in the eyes of those outside of the faith. Likewise, we will see as we journey this quarter in 1 Peter together that our means to draw people’s attention to Christ are often subversive and countercultural.
Hence a life following Jesus is definitely like any healthy habits: it’s often hard work that requires training of not just our body and actions, but also in fine tuning our attitudes, minds, and priorities. More important, it is never meant to be normal, but one that is adaptive to the guidance of the Spirit. It is in living this “questionable life” (at least in the eyes of others) that we create opportunities to engage others in conversations.
May this 2021 year be another abnormal year for you, but in a positive and compelling way.