“We Can Do Better Than Normal”
Rev. William Bills
January 6, 2021
FROM THE PASTOR
2021 is supposed to be a new year. You know, out with the old, in with the new… turn the page… fresh start; all that stuff. Today is January 6, 2021. Election season is finally winding down but there is that familiar refrain of “too close to call” in Georgia. There is unrest in Washington inside and outside the capital building. The 2021 Covid news doesn’t sound much better than 2020. 2020 brought us the vaccine. Who knew it would be hard to distribute?
We turned the page, at least on the calendar. There is light at the end of the tunnel. It may be months before we get back to normal. Of course, some people are prone to ask, “What is normal anyway?” If normal is gone long enough, we may forget it. That could be a good thing though. If memory serves, normal wasn’t always good.
Politics and pandemics have shown us that our great nation, strong as we are outwardly, is more fragile than perhaps we thought. It’s like that old Pogo comic strip: we have met the enemy and it is us. We haven’t been doing so well at getting along in America. Since the turn of the century the word for American politics has been “divisive.” If that is normal, let’s not go back to that. We can do better.
Politics and pandemics have shown that the people deemed essential in our economy are some of the lowest paid. Grocery store clerks need to work and we need them to work. Food service, cleaning, and maintenance workers in hospitals are essential too. If they are essential, why aren’t they paid like it? I hope we can do better for essential workers in the future.
2020 demonstrated that we have failed on racism in America. Many of us thought we took care of that already. We got that one wrong. The effects of the pandemic on black, indigenous, and other people of color are not just. White people don’t like to hear it but we have a long way to go on race in America. Normal has never been right on race. We have to do a lot better than normal in 2021.
Someone said if 2020 was a scented candle the fragrance would be called “Burning Outhouse.” That may be true but 2020 didn’t happen in a vacuum. We have been slipping down a slippery slope since the turn of the century. Maybe longer. Does that mean 2021 is without hope? By no means! But let’s think twice about getting back to normal. We can do better than normal. I hope 2021 is better than normal.
At University United Methodist Church, we affirm that as disciples of Jesus Christ, we are an open and inclusive congregation and welcome all persons into full participation regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic situation, age, ability, education, background and whether single or partnered.