Strawberries and cream can often signify Wimbledon fortnight and the beginning of summer. A time to unwind, enjoy the warmer weather and make the most of the light evenings. This year, the 19th July is developing a special relevance as people from around the UK start to plan life again as we always knew it. But will it be the same ever again? I know a lot of people are praying, some literally, for a return to more normal days, a return to the life we led before Covid. There is a yearning for those former days. I have found myself hoping for anything but a return to how things were. Am I mad?
I am praying that God will sweep us up into a new world, where we think about and act on global warming, where we reflect on the life we used to live and promise to rethink it so we give more generously and more gracefully to those who always struggled with ‘the world as it was’. I remember the early days of the first lockdown when the air was cleaner and the sky bluer, when heavy traffic wasn’t bombarding our senses. Life had become a competition: one against everyone else – winners but also losers.
Recently I have returned to Walter Brueggeman’s early book, Hopeful Imagination, to acquaint myself again with the words of the major biblical prophet, Isaiah at 43: 18-19:
“Do not remember former things.
Behold, I am doing a new thing.”
In his book, Brueggeman reflects on Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Isaiah and sees within those prophetic writings a context of exile, to help people enter into exile, to be in exile and depart out of exile. To let go of the former ways and to explore what new things God is doing in our world. They can speak to us toda