At the moment I’m all too aware of how life feels as if it’s been put on hold. Uni, school and work look a lot different. Birthday celebrations, graduations and weddings have been postponed. And as we’ve retreated inside it feels that we’ve had to put a lot of our activism on pause too.
It can feel as if we’re just waiting this out until life can return to ‘normal’. But what if now was actually a turning point in the pursuit for social, economic and environmental justice? What if in years later when we think of 2020, we won’t just remember it for the hours spent on Netflix, or quizzes on Zoom, but as the moment things began to change? What if the crisis became synonymous with a movement that snowballed into huge societal shifts for the environment, equality and faith?
I saw this quote recently on social media summing up the collective position I feel we’re in right now.
‘We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalised greed, inequality, exhaustion, depletion, extraction. We should not long to return, my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature‘ – Sonya Renee Taylor
A new normal
While it’s undeniable that this is a time to lament, and for many to grieve, it could also be an opportunity to reshape our new normal, if we let it.
A couple of weeks ago Tearfund launched the World Rebooted, a video, paper and discussion guide all about reimagining a post-coronavirus world. The paper and discussion guide recognise that we have a unique opportunity right now to imagine a better reality. Not only that, but we also have a chance to build it together.
I have this image in my mind, of households across the country downloading the paper; watching the video and coming together with their families around the dinner table, friends on facetime and small groups on Zoom, and it fills me with hope. Hope for a ripple effect across our nation and the world that as we start to emerge from this crisis we recognise we don’t have to go back to how life was before. We as the church have a role to play in reshaping society.
‘We cannot be content to go back to what was before… there needs to be a resurrection of our common life.’ – Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby
The opportunity of a lifetime
While we continue to acknowledge all we have lost as we worship on live streams, plan quizzes for Zoom and bake sourdough, it’s my hope we can make time to reimagine. So that as we move forward we won’t just take with us new baking and gardening skills, but a renewed and steadfast community spirit; and that when the doors open up we might see church buildings flooded with new brothers and sisters who have been exploring faith online or discovering God through virtual churches. I hope that the society we return to might be more than the one we left behind; one where we learn to steward God’s creation well.
It’s time we consider the role we each have to play in shaping a post-Covid society… and ask ourselves how will we play our part? When we look back in the history books to 2020, what stories will you have to tell about the part you played and how we saw the world change for the better?
If you want to join us in imagining a better world, why not respond creatively? Using the medium of your choice, let us know your thoughts on how we could create a more just and equal society for everyone as the world reopens after the Coronavirus pandemic. We welcome everything from paintings to articles to podcasts!
Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing your creativity right here on the We Are Tearfund magazine. To get involved email firstname.lastname@example.org