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“Take Part in the New Normal”

Updated: May 2, 2022

Sermon: “Take Part in the New Normal”

Rev. Glenn G. Grant

Kirkridge Presbyterian Church

Transcription from April 17, 2022

Sermon transcription is automatically generated. Please forgive any grammatical errors.

Over the past several months I think most of us have probably heard the phrase, the new normal. And of course, that refers to in most cases, living with COVID. And yet what really is the new normal? I'm not sure anybody really knows. But it's something to think about when we're gathered to celebrate Easter.

The disciples certainly had something to figure out as far as a new normal was concerned. Instead of having Jesus to follow who was telling them what they were doing and why he was doing what he was doing and teaching them all along the way. They were suddenly trying to figure out what all of the events of the previous week meant.

And now we get news, not from some heavenly messenger directly to the disciples, but the women, the women. Think about this Jesus chose the women to be the first evangelist and the first preachers of good news. And yet in the church today, we have problems with having women in the pulpit. I don't know. I don't understand that but in any case, it was a new normal. First of all, we'd upset the whole idea that women were second-class citizens.

Second of all and upset the whole idea that this inner circle would be the ones that would understand and know everything. It also upset the whole idea that Jesus was going to come in as this earthly Messiah and throw off Roman rule. And lastly, and most importantly, it threw off the whole idea that death was something final.

Because as I saw on a Facebook post last night, Jesus didn't come to eliminate death, but the conquer it.

And so, we have this whole thing of what is new and what is normal and getting used to all these ideas. And yet we can look back to Isaiah and God promised saying behold, I am doing a new thing. Do you not perceive it? I am doing a new thing. And yet we want everything to be the same.

There's an old joke about a woman that went to church on Easter morning. And after the services, she was coming out, the pastor was there at the door, greeting people, and she says, you know, I don't think I'm going to come anymore. Every time I come, it's the exact same scripture and it's the exact same message. And he says, well, maybe you should try coming next week instead of just on Easter.

Yeah, we get into these habits, and we don't want things to change. And yet life is all about change. Is there anybody here that woke up the same person this morning that they were yesterday?

You're a day older. You may have discovered a new ache or pain. You may have. Discovered that something that you were having problems with yesterday is no longer there.

Life is a constant change, and we need to get used to not just whatever the new normal is, but taking part in it, taking part in it. When the women came and found the disciples and told them what the angels had told them at the tomb, most of the disciples dismissed what they were saying, but Peter decided to participate.

He goes running to the tomb and finds it as the women had said. We have to choose to participate in what the Easter message is. We have to choose to participate in what is new in life. And we don't, we're not good at that as humans, we like things that are comfortable that we know what's going to happen. We like things to be predictable.

And yet we have also a well-worn-out phrase. If you wonder what's going on in life, tell God your plans and you'll find out how much of a sense of humor God has. You know, tell God your plans, and then you're going to find out what's really going to happen. Because has everybody's life going exactly the way they planned it, has anybody's life going the way.

You see, life is change. Life is constantly in new creation. We often think about God as the God that created the heavens and the earth and quit. And we forget that God is a creative creator, a constantly creating, always, always, always. I don't know how many people here participate in any kind of artwork, whether it be building things with your hands or creating crafts or knitting or crocheting or sewing or drawing or painting or whatever it is.

But any artist knows that their art is never finished. You just move on to the next project. I know there are tons of projects around our house that are not finished. Why did everyone just look at her?

There's just as many in the workshop, I can guarantee you. We think that that's a human trait that we aren't always, we're never happy with our own creations we always see these things that we could've done better. You know, as the artist always sees the mistake in their painting, the singer always points back to that one note that they didn't get quite right, or they didn't hit the volume just exactly the way it should have been. Or the dynamic was just a little bit off or they weren't bouncy enough!

You just got a glimpse into the practice before church this morning. If anybody wants a good time come to choir practice! But we are never truly satisfied with the way things are. Even in our work lives, we're always trying to get ahead, aren't we? We're always trying to get it a little better set financially.

We're always trying to get that next promotion or that next pay raise, or maybe just better hours or maybe we're trying to get to that point where we can say, you know what I've had enough of this I’m retiring. We're always trying to get there. We're always, always, always trying to get there and yet we don't give God, that same latitude.

And yet Easter is all about reminding us that God is creating a new thing. Nobody until that time had ever known anyone to come out of a tomb of their own power. No one at that time had ever known someone that actually could heal people or that could change the world with a few followers. And we need to realize that we are all called to participate in whatever the new normal is.

We are called to participate in a new way of life because of the cross and the resurrection. Jesus didn't eliminate death, he conquered it. And that is something totally new for us. That is something totally new for humans to even consider. And every year we get a chance to consider it all over again. That's how new it is.

So, we have that whole cycle to go through, and each time we come around to Easter, we should be coming at it in a little bit more mature place a little bit further along in our understanding than we did the year before. So even if we only hear that same scripture every year, even if we only hear the same sermon every year, we should still be seeing how we are participating in that new life, that new creation that God is making. Behind I am doing a new thing. Do you not perceive it? If we think about that, there's no reason we should even use the term, the new normal, because normal is always new. Now let's pray.

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