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A Time for Creativity

Updated: May 29

What if we are in the middle of a monumental transition in human history? What if things won’t be the same after this pandemic?  What if it is impossible to get back to normal because too much has already changed; even what normal looks like? What if historians will look back on this moment and see it as a giant hinge, that swings humankind into a new direction? 

Last Sunday Pulitzer Prize winning historian Jon Meacham wrote an essay that got me thinking about the role of pandemics in shaping history. He pointed out that the Bubonic or Black Plague in the 1300 - 1400’s was the most deadly in human history, with a death toll of  one third of Europe’s population, but it was also an agent for change. As it ravaged the populace that  refused to social distance, it challenged the power of the Church and all social order. The questions it planted in people’s minds gave them a new appreciation for individuality and set the stage for the Protestant Reformation.


Meacham says the plague caused people to question the order of Medieval institutions. The suffering was too great, and the upset too substantial to return to normal. Instead “The Black death may have been the unrecognized beginning of modern man.”

 {Jon Meacham: “The Long View: Pandemics Past,” The New York Times Book Review, Sunday May 24, 2020}

This year 2020 has been nothing like we expected it would be. The pandemic has changed our routines, upset our schedules, furloughed workers and side-lined students. It has done more that disrupt the spring and potentially the summer. Already in these three months, the pandemic has caused many families to re-imagine work, re-fashion home-life, re-connect with nature. Patterns are shifting. Folks are questioning. Even when many states are starting to re-open, lots of people remain cautious about what amount of risk they are willing to take and whether they will resume their old habits any time soon. 

But this is also a time of creativity. People are learning online, partying in masks on lawns, learning online and re-thinking what is essential.  It has proved to be a time to imagine new ways to work, to do recreation and be together. It is not lost on most of us that this is  all taking place in the year 2020 - which is not just a date but a term for clear vision. If you have 2020 eyesight, you see perfectly. So it makes you wonder what we are seeing, and what it all could mean. It makes you wonder if wrapped in this hard moment is also the promise of new vision. 

This summer I will preaching sermons on the theme 2020: A Summer for New Vision. Stay tuned.


Rev. Susan


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