Some of you may recall the short story by Washington Irving. I remember performing in a class production of the tale in junior high. I even crafted the image of King George on one side of a poster board and George Washington on the other that hung outside of the tavern in town.
In case you don’t remember the story, Rip Van Winkle wanders away from his home to escape his nagging wife, encounters some strange folks, drinks their liquor, and ends up sleeping for 20 years.
When he returns home, everything and everyone has changed. It is set before and after the Revolutionary War.
We did not sleep for 20 years, but our world has changed. Professional sports without fans, SEC football postponed until later this month, social distancing and restrictive guidelines on worshipping in person make for a new world. There is more to the story.
Rip Van Winkle is troubled by the changes, but he discovers his children now grown into adults and that his wife is deceased. He moves in with his daughter and resumes his idle ways without a nagging wife. I promise this is not about marriage.
The good news for us is that our new world has opened up a wide vista of new ways of being and doing. We may not be able to attend worship in person, but we can worship in new ways. We may not be meeting in person for Sunday school or small groups, but we find that people previously excluded because of physical limitations or distance can now participate.
Virtual choirs are filling Facebook with joyful sounds. All of this would have never happened without Covid-19.