I was browsing the website of an exciting looking conference (The Justice Conference), particularly looking at the bios of some of the speakers, and the details of the program, when a thought popped into my head.
A lot of the speakers at conferences like this one, and others, are (rightly) inspirational, dynamic, radical people, often folk who have given up time, money or another career in the pursuit of justice. It seems to me to be the same for the majority of speakers and influencers in other spaces – particularly at church and academic conferences. There is – and this is not a criticism but an observation – a sense that the people we want to hear from on any given topic should be sold-out, passionate people who are the key voice in their field.
This is not an entirely bad thing – particularly when we are talking about things that really matter, affecting peoples lives in the now and the not yet, or dealing with movements and resources, etc.
But the thought that popped into my head was a ‘what if’ kind of thought – focused on the word ‘normal’.
As is often the case, I ended up daydreaming, about some short books someone could write, in a series emphasising the need to integrate things into our normal lives. Off the top of that daydream I’d sketched out a few different book ideas in my head, ‘Normal: Justice’, ‘Normal: Worship’, ‘Normal: Prayer’ and ‘Normal: Theology’, for starters.
But I digress.
At the service where I decided to give my life to Jesus, I was challenged and inspired by Pauls’ words in Colossians 3. Personally, ‘the new normal’ of being a follower of Jesus is rooted in the radical, invitational challenge of Colossians 3:17:
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.“
We are all ‘normal’. And so, when we follow Jesus, everything changes.
What if the ‘normal’ of these ‘exceptional’ people, through the lens of Colossians 3:17 by the power of the Holy Spirit, became our ‘normal’?
Imagine what the church could be like…