By now Target and Walmart have entire sections of their stores dedicated to school supplies. Various retailers will try to entice you into buying new clothes for the kids – and, while you’re at it, spend a few bucks for new threads for yourself, too.
The school districts will fill your inbox with calendars, schedules, meeting dates and supply lists. The sports teams are ready to start their preseason camps. And you might still have the time and the weather to slip in one more weekend up north before it’s time to get back to … well, you know.
Actually, I don’t know. Nobody knows. By now the marketing wizards have normally zapped us with every “Back to School” hook they can dream up. But normal disappeared a few months ago. We’ve put out a missing person report on normal. Nobody has seen normal since March.
We all want to get back, but get back to what? What will school be like? What will church be like? What will America be like? Our requisition of questions has vastly exceeded the supply of answers.
Let’s start with the schools. The Hortonville Area School District has put out a 37-page Reopening Plan. Essentially they are planning on a 5-day school week. They’re even entertaining teaching classes outside. This is northeast Wisconsin. That should be a wonderful two weeks.
I actually applaud their effort, and I have a mountainous level of respect and compassion for our school administrators, teachers and staff. They’ve already proven that they can turn on a dime when calamity strikes, as it did in March. They are trying to foresee the unforeseeable, and makes plans around the chaotic and disjointed lifestyle imposed upon all of us by the virus known as SARS-CoV-2. I prefer to call it the Little Slimeball.
For our church, we’re working on a plan to start up Sunday School and DOGs in September. In all likelihood, we will have adult leaders and helpers wearing masks, but not so likely for the kids. Based on the scientific expert I heard on the radio – choose your sources wisely, but they’ll probably say something different tomorrow – children are not susceptible to the Little Slimeball, nor do they transmit it (unless they have underlying medical issues). We’ll do our best to keep it safe.
We will still offer in-person worship, but with the guidelines we set out at the beginning still in place:
As for our country, we need to get back to work without getting into arguments. We need to get back to unity as Americans without hyphens. We need to get back to liberty and justice for all minus the vitriol toward the other side and the violence toward anyone at all. We need to get back to the foundational freedoms that dressed this nation with the finest attire any republic has ever worn, without obsessing on the couple of stains we picked up from years of wear. Treat the stains without trashing the whole outfit.
I know I’m oversimplifying, but freedom does not come easily nor quickly, and it’s never cheap. It took centuries of societal evolution to devise a national structure built on freedom; it takes centuries more to see that it reaches every heart, soul and life within its borders. It’s the harsh reality of human enlightenment that great ideas and noble principles must slowly work their way in to the cultural conscience. America had to start before slavery could end. Now let’s put an end to the lingering bigotry, too.
For the children of God, there’s only one place to go:
~ Pastor Steve Kline
Pastor Steve Kline was installed as Senior Pastor at SHLC on May 25, 2014, after serving 12 years as Senior Pastor at Zion in Wayside, WI. He was ordained in 1992 and previously served congregations in Pulaski and Hales Corners.