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We have heard the word "unprecedented" a lot in recent times as normality has taken a back seat during the pandemic, Graham Ashby writes.
So much has happened in these past two months, both here and across the world. An invisible viral enemy has invaded every nation on Earth. Battling this pandemic, we have lost all normality.
Every aspect of life has been impacted — our homes, our work, our health, church life, shopping, business and the economy, travel, exercise, weddings, funerals, sport, schooling, retail shopping, advertising, our behaviour — in ways we never imagined or have experienced. While employees are nervous about job security and employers are in survival mode, the financial world nervously anticipates a global recession.
We are contending with fear, anxiety, uncertainty, panic, self-centredness, greed, scaremongering, suspension, unemployment, cessation of income and complacency. Mental and emotional health concerns are growing daily.
Handshakes, hugs and hongis are banned. Seniors and those with compromised health must stay home in their bubble. While trying to keep a safe distance from others, we wear facemasks (if available), wash and dry our hands regularly and sneeze into our sleeves.
This contagion has forced situational changes upon us with immediacy and a new vocabulary is now commonplace — Covid-19, self-isolation, community spread, social distancing, individualism, essentials only, minimise face-to-face contact ... to name a few.
One word in particular caught my attention. A rarely used word now announced by politicians, read in newspapers and online feeds and echoed in phone conversation and in our homes. It describes the abnormal times we are living in. The word is "unprecedented".
Cruise ships are banned from docking in New Zealand ports. Unprecedented.
New Zealand borders are now closed to non-NZ citizens. Unprecedented.
Returning Kiwis are quarantined for 14 days in hotels. Unprecedented.
The Government has put in place a $12billion-plus support package for 12 weeks to help citizens meet their financial commitments. Unprecedented.
We are commanded to stay at home. Unprecedented.
Churches have ceased Sunday services, unless online. Unprecedented.
Doctors and nurses meet patients in the car park dressed in hazmat gear. Unprecedented.
People fight over toilet paper. Unprecedented.
The word "unprecedented" is not in the Bible, yet there are multiple times when it could have been used. History is not unaccustomed to unprecedented events.
Genesis: The planet is flooded because of man’s sin. Unprecedented.
Exodus: A foreign slave baby named Moses becomes a Prince of Egypt. Unprecedented.
Exodus: The Red Sea parts to save God’s chosen people. Unprecedented.
Exodus: Ten Commandments are engraved in stone by God Himself. Unprecedented.
Joshua: The earth ceases rotation for an entire day as the sun stands still. Unprecedented.
Judges: Samson, has phenomenal strength because of long hair. Unprecedented.
Jonah: A reluctant prophet survives being swallowed by a large fish. Unprecedented.
Daniel: Three faithful young Hebrew men survive a raging furnace. Unprecedented.
Matthew: God sends His only Son into our world to be its Saviour. Unprecedented.
Mark: Jesus feeds 5000 men with five loaves and two fish. Unprecedented.
John: Jesus walks on water. Unprecedented.
John: Jesus Christ dies on a cross in Jerusalem for the sins of the world. Unprecedented.
John: Jesus rises from death victorious over sin, death and hell. Unprecedented.
You get the picture. God dwells in the realm of the unprecedented.
- Graham Ashby is a Christian communicator and counsellor from Alexandra.