My friend’s son came home from his first week of school, saying “Mom, now we have to guess our spelling words; the teacher doesn’t say them anymore.”
“That can’t be right!” she replied, asking more questions until she understood his confusion. His class has been merged with another grade for the first time, and while the teacher was giving the older grade their spelling test, this boy thought he had to guess his own words and then spell them correctly.
Welcome to Fall 2020 in the COVID-19 era. Rules and regulations for how to stay safe keep changing, and while most of the guidelines make sense, they’re mind-bogglingly complicated and not always consistent. No wonder kids are getting confused! I’m an adult, with skills and experiences to interpret these changes, and it’s still hard! And sometimes the rules feel downright impossible, like guessing which words will be on the spelling test this week. As someone quipped online, “It’s expecting a lot to think we’d be managing this really well.”
Three types of people
How are you doing, CC reader? Can you visit family? Do you check the headlines every morning or need a break from the news? Are you able to go to church? Do you follow the arrows on the floor of the grocery store? (I apparently can’t).
We’re all handling the ongoing reality of COVID-19 in different ways. Some people feel stuck, remembering the things we can’t do anymore. Some of us are trying to assert control over the current circumstances, while others are focused on the future – what’s next? How can we get past this? These are all good questions; there’s no “correct” approach here. It feels like the only way through this is going to be with bucketloads of grace and by listening to one another.
Those people focused on the past? We need them so we can learn from our mistakes. When things are changing so quickly, figuring out what we can control, or how we can adapt, is helpful. And facing an uncertain future means those visionaries are more important than ever.
I like to think that those three perspectives of past, present and future exist in Christian Courier too, and not only because of COVID. This month CC is celebrating 75 years of publication. How have we been able to keep going, when so many other publications have shut down? By God’s grace, with a bare-bones budget, and through your faithful support as subscribers – to give just a few key reasons!
Our format gives another clue: as a print newspaper with a lively online presence, CC blends old and new methods of communication. We hope that our content inspires readers to join God in the renewal of his creation, and we’ve also been busy, since 1945, with our own ongoing renovations – changing our language, name, design, writers, focus – always building on the past, not burning it all down. Trying to take the best of the Reformed heritage and passing it on to the next generation.
“The church and the Christian community must constantly reform itself,” editor Bert Witvoet once wrote. “There is nothing wrong with that. We live in a dynamic time frame between the ascension and the return of Christ. We cannot be forever militant; we cannot be forever building. Sometimes a community has to learn to be vulnerable and weak again so that God can continue to be its strength.”
Even though those lines are from an editorial written 30 years ago, could Bert be describing a lesson we need to learn now, during this pandemic?