What is Normal?

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

I have heard a number of people in and around Boston saying that things are beginning to get back to normal.   Copley Square has reopened, many of the injured from the bombing of April 15th are recovering and the regular pace of life is slowly returning.  That being said, I must admit that I havebstrong noticed how many people on the subway are carrying bulky black backpacks and a part of me senses that the repercussions of Patriots Day will take a while to subside.  Besides, I am unsure whether or not I’d really want things to go back to normal.

Can things go back to above-normal?  Can we maintain the concern for our neighbors and our appreciation for the civil servants in our midst?  Can we continue to donate to causes that alleviate suffering and offer support to those enduring hardship?  Can we still sing the national anthem until we are hoarse and shed a tear over those who are crying in pain?  Do we have to return to normal?

Allow me to make a suggestion:  we could all commit to living out a new normal – we could commit to living good.  As God spoke through the prophet Micah, we could commit to acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly.

  • Acting justly would require us to live and behave in ways that conform to what is morally upright or good, to do what is right and not what is simply beneficial to us.
  • Loving mercy would require us to live and behave in ways that demonstrate that we hold precious the practice of treating others better than their actions deserve, to seek out opportunities to forgive and restore.
  • Walking humbly would require us to live and behave in ways that not so much cause us to think less of ourselves but rather to think of ourselves less, knowing that God has instilled great worth in us all.

Those living in and around Boston, West, TX, and Sichuan Province, China all could share accounts of those doing good: acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly.  They know of strangers disregarding their own well-being for the sake of another in need.  They are the model that Micah 6:8 encourages and that Jesus spoke of in the parable of the Good Samaritan.  Do we have to go back to the way things were, when we thought mostly about us and ours and less about them that theirs?  Perhaps a few of us could continue to care for those battered by the barrage of worldly evils.   Tomorrow there will still be homeless people that need a hand, helpless people that need hope and hurting people that need a hug.  I’d like to think that the new normal would include opportunity for all this, and more to take place.

Then we can all say that things are getting back to above-normal.

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