June 22nd

There’s a sense of normality in the air – more cars on the roads; more people about; more businesses open. It’s not exactly normal – there are signs, stickers and perspex sheets all over the place, lots of folk are wearing masks; barriers create more space for pedestrians, people maintain social distances.

Not “normal-as-before”, but, maybe, a “new normal” – radio and TV, newspapers and websites, host discussions about how the economic, social, political and personal “new normal” might appear. Tyndale’s having a “go” at this weekly, taking ideas about God’s Kingdom as a reference point. Opinion seems to swing between the optimistic (some commentators highlight the new awareness of nature and of each other during the lockdown) and the cynical (other commentators note how quickly old habits reassert themselves).

The truth, as so often, is to be found somewhere in between. The knife – likely terrorist – attack in Reading at the weekend shows: old evils find their way into the new world easily. But the fact that the perpetrator was tackled by an off-duty police officer shows that old characteristics of bravery and sacrifice are also to be found in the new world.

God’s kingdom, then, is as near or far away as ever it was, for we human beings are as near to the things of God or as far away from them as ever we were. The challenge remains to live “in between”. The signs of God’s Kingdom are all around. They always have been. Please God in the “new normal” those who are prepared to look will see them and point them out for the sake of a better world.

Michael Docker