The new normal will not be sending these encouragements to you on Friday instead of Thursday evening. Yet somehow with the experience of Shavuot last evening, same old just wasn’t right.
As you know, Shavuot culminates the 7 week period after Passover to celebrate the giving of the Torah, which parallels Pentecost occurring 7 weeks after Easter to celebrate the giving of the Holy Spirit. I don’t get two hung up on calendar date differences (manmade) and instead focus on the underlying magnitude of the bigger story. What could the Jews making pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Shavuot have thought the year Yeshua was crucified as they experienced the giving of the Holy Spirit? As the Holy Spirit descended a new normal occurred.
I am not comparing the Shavuot of the giving of the Holy Spirit as the same as these days. Yet I do feel we are in an accelerated period of time spiritually when compared to life before COVID-19. If not yet universally, then at least on a person-by-person, and personal level, more of us are taking time to focus on the more important truths. Our more limited world physically has expanded the opportunity to work on our inner world, the one that connects us spiritually to HaShem.
The coronavirus has shattered the illusion that what a single person does doesn’t matter. It has shattered the illusion that we are insulated from our brothers and sisters thousands of miles away. This deadly disease brought home, literally, the ability for each of us to look deep within ourselves to determine what our own new normal will be. It stopped us dramatically in ways never before experienced, and in doing so, gave us an opportunity to reprioritize our lives.
The discussion of the new normal is everywhere. Zoom is great but does not replace the feeling of in person experiences. Masks are the new normal for now in certain situations. Some businesses are still closed, others open at regulated capacities. What is normal in these situations is a moving target that will change over time. Yet there are truths that do not change.
Last evening the UMJC sponsored Shavuot observance through Zoom, and because of so many registrations, had to expand the format to include Facebook live streaming (which is still available to view)! Hundreds came to Ma’ariv evening service followed by hourly Torah study through the night led by leading scholars in our Messianic Jewish movement.
Hour after hour of wisdom from our UMJC leaders was the perfect culmination of these days and months of hours and hours of new normal personally. I encourage you to drink deep the words heard or that you will hear if you choose to go to the Facebook video of the experience. Immerse in prayer. Stay faithful to the covenant of Shabbat. Bask in its beauty as you praise HaShem and restore yourselves physically and spiritually.
The social restrictions will ease in time. There will be a new normal. Even if it eventually looks just like the old one, it will be one with more understanding, and appreciation, of our impact on each other. I encourage your new normal to be one recognizing HaShem as the center of your every moment. For those of us who felt close to Him before, may we feel even closer. For those seeking or wavering, I hope these days have brought you closer to feeling God’s presence, that your new normal brings you closer to Yeshua who is just waiting for you to share His embrace.