Returning to New Zealand I came early to the airport in Tel Aviv. That was a good move as I found out. Otherwise I might not have made my flight. The security lines stretched through the whole airport. While check-in only took me about five minutes, getting through security took me about three hours. It was hard to find out what was happening among the thousands being squeezed along the lines (nearly all without face masks by the way). Even though all security lines were operating, the airport could not cope with the masses.
Similar scenes have apparently been happening at other airports throughout Europe. The pent-up travel demand is huge and people are flocking overseas again. I remembered the words Bishop Peter wrote at the beginning of the pandemic that air travel had now reduced to a level that was more sustainable. Well, it seems that in many places it has not taken long to get back to where we left off before the pandemic.
I wonder whether we can expect something similar in other areas of life. Will we be comfortable going to restaurants again? Will we visit each other without possible viral infection being top of our mind? Will we sing and share freely in church? Will we celebrate Communion as we did before? What will we have learned?
These things are hard to predict. If anyone had told me in January this year that I would be travelling overseas in May, I would not have believed them (and it would not have been possible according to government timelines then). Attitudes to common life depend as much on the medical reality as on pre-dominant attitudes. To a certain degree the church is caught up in that. I wonder to what extent we will look back at these times as something extraordinary or whether it will change our practice significantly.