First of all, I wish you all a happy Chinese New Year!
After the Gregorian New Year, I wonder if the arrival of the Lunar New Year Festival brings you more joy? In any case, due to the current situation of the pandemic, it is inevitable that people's joy will be affected. Although the world is constantly changing, many people have been encouraged by the changes to generate new ideas, in order to make them feel that today’s world is more attractive than in the past. However, with the replacement of the old with the new, we still hope to maintain our traditions. During the past Lunar New Years, we would have New Year's activities: family members gather together, share New Year's Eve dinners, and watch New Year's Eve programs together. But now with the pandemic we have to make appropriate compromises.
But on the other hand, the restrictions of the pandemic have also inspired us to find alternate ways, so as to make many things that we have never thought before to be possible. For example, our church's ministries now rely more on Internet technology services, so that church gatherings can continue virtually.
However, have we adapted to the new normal in the post-pandemic period? Do we enjoy online gatherings more? Or do we miss the face-to-face gatherings in the past? Whether it is the enjoyment of the present or the nostalgia for the past, we need to think about what it is that we really value. Is our focus on such externalities? Worship is indeed important, but the form of worship may be easily replaced or changed. We need to hold onto what it is that we truly value in order to avoid losing ourselves in the ever-changing environment.
As the apostle Paul advised, since we have "put off the old self, and to put on the new self", then do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Ephesians 4:21-24; Romans 12:2) God is the true driving force that maintains our lives and allows us to experience renewal. I hope that in the new year, the renewal and change we are pursuing will not merely focus on externalities, but will focus on attaining inner renewal in God. May God show us that his work of renewal in our life will not only endure, but also a precious inheritance that will last forever.