Dear God, Please make everything go back to normal.

Confession. There have been many times over the past couple of months when I have found myself making this my prayer. The question I struggle with is, “Why?” Why do I want things to return back to “normal?” It seems that one of the side effects of staying at home may be temporary amnesia, because when I really get still and take time to meet God in those still spaces I am reminded that normal wasn’t one of my favorite places either. I begin to remember the exhaustion of normal with my wife and three children – the normal that included overcrowded schedules, too much fast food, and a lot less time for family. I remember how I filled my schedule as a pastor with way too many meetings (often taking people away from their own relationships), working all day only to get home and continue to work more, and sacrificing Sabbath rest (and never receiving a trophy or t-shirt as a result).

There have been many adjustments during this quarantine, but one gift has been the time and space to pay attention to one another and to God. I wonder if like the disciples who encounter the Risen Christ in unexpected places and in unexpected ways, if we aren’t being nudged to pay attention to the movement of God’s Spirit in our lives calling us to a newness of life? Recently, my daily prayer has looked a lot more like this centering hymn:

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me….

Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

May the Spirit of God sustain you as we move forward with hope into the new thing that God is always doing among us!

Rev. Rhett Ansley is Senior Pastor of Wildwood United Methodist Church in Magnolia, Texas. If you are ever in the area, their congregation would love for you to worship with them.

COVID-19 has disrupted many aspects of our lives and impacted all of us. While the process of ministry is changing, the responsibility to help those in need has not. Please share these reflections from pastors around the Texas Annual Conference with your friends:

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