In his 1920 Presidential campaign, Sen. Warren G. Harding of Ohio, pledged a “return to normalcy.” Now, Harding, for the most part, was not a man of vision; unless you count looking backward; but he was a Senator from a key state who “looked” like a President and thus, seemed the right man for the time. That is; he was someone who wouldn’t get in the way of the “real” decision makers, and thus would be allowed ample time to play golf during the day and cards at night.
The country was coming off the horrors of WWI and perceived hidden risks of stepping into the international scene as a world power. The message to the voters was that we have had enough of meddling in foreign affairs. Let us return to a more tranquil time, let the power brokers rule, let us be concerned only about the America we knew and not the America that could be. Let us calm down and get back to normal.
Now, normal is not necessarily bad. Your temperature is down and back to normal. Your heart rate is normal – good. Your blood work and blood pressure are normal. That is comforting. We get all of this and we like it. But in these cases, normal is easy to define. Not so easy to define is what normal means as far as cultural inclusion, human rights, or pandemics; a place in which we now reside.
Truth be told; I don’t think we really should limit our goals in these troubled times, to just returning to normal. We must do better than to see each other and see our country maintaining a status quo mentality when it comes to dealing with a horrible disease or pandemic, or when confronting our failing to “secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
Our dilemma is formidable, our challenge great; but our opportunities are even greater. We hold in our hands the chance to really make a difference; to create a nation that more closely mirrors the aspiration penned in Philadelphia almost 250 years ago. We stand on the threshold of not returning to an old normalcy, but creating a new vision of normal based on the message of Jesus Christ. It was a challenge for the original disciples and it is a challenge for us as well; but we are called to take it on, with all our heart and soul and mind. We must preach His message and we must live His message; and then the face of normal will be changed forever.
Thanks be to God.
Lay Pastor of Congregational Care