Over the last several months normal has been regularly redefined. What was once normal may not even be possible now, and what became normal to us last week has likely changed this week and may change again tomorrow. This process has become so routine that many of us even steer clear of the phrase, “new normal.” Just when we think we can settle into a routine—well, we can’t!
This past summer, the challenging decision was made to return to the classroom for face-to-face instruction for our Fall 2020 semester. NNU was one of the only universities in the Northwest to make that bold of a decision, and it was the right thing to do. While we didn’t return to “normal,” having students back on campus created a sense of normalcy. In spite of physical distancing, face coverings, daily health screenings, regular asymptomatic testing, quarantining, grab-n-go meals on occasion and a host of other accommodations, there was normalcy in spite of the not normal. Why? Community!
Our core value of Community guided our decisions as well as our methods for returning to campus and the classroom. The entire NNU community was asked to commit to putting “Community First” by being respectful, humble and flexible. We all agreed to the following ideal:
An NNU education is more than an intellectual pursuit. It’s more than merely acquiring a degree to get a better job. It’s about identifying a purpose and turning that into a meaningful life. At Northwest Nazarene University, we believe that a meaningful life is rooted in timeless values and empowered by a community that embodies those principles. Together we realize our potential by committing to a life of service that transforms ourselves, our society and the world.
In putting “Community First,” we embraced Philippians 2:3-4 (CEB):
Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others.
Normal? We believe so!
In these days of ongoing adjustment and regularly redefining normal, we all seem to crave a sense of normalcy. We seek comfort and constancy. We long for affirmation that someday we will experience a stable normal again. While we don’t know what that will look like or when it will happen, the writer of Lamentations offers us assurance and provides the grounding for a much greater hope. Normal? We believe so!
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 (NRSV)
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