So much has happened this week. We are in the now-and-not-yet all over again. Lockdown is easing – but is it? Is it safe to do so? How do we feel about it? I attended a church leadership webinar recently in which we talked about the short, medium and long term plans and approaches for the future – but above all the reality is we simply do not know. There is no blueprint for this. There is no clear A to B – because we don’t yet know what B is! It’s all emerging and we have to figure it out as we go along.
Uncertainty is something that few people truly like. We may say that we like challenge and flexibility, but generally we do at least like to face those challenges and the need for flexibility with firm ground under our feet, rather than quicksand. But right now, there seems very little firm ground, and many of our old assumptions and habits simply don’t fit or function in our new world.
So what now? One point that was raised, which resonated greatly for me, was the fact that whilst we haven’t a clue, God does. He knows how blessing can be brought about for us individually, as communities, as nations, and globally. We have a truly once in a lifetime chance to re-imagine what society and daily life looks like. And the best way we can engage with that is by beginning with prayer.
Unprecented times call for unprecedented prayer! We need to pray lots – as much as we can, whenever we can, in any way that we can. There’s no right or wrong way or place to pray; just do it! And if we engage with God, if we try to listen carefully to what He is saying, what kind of world He might be calling us to on the other side of this, then maybe collectively what emerges may be a whole lot better – for everyone – than what we knew before.
One simple example of that is meetings. We used to spend hours in our cars driving miles to meetings. In the past 8 weeks, global emissions have gone through the floor on the graphs. Whilst that will go up again once industry picks up once more, maybe we don’t have to go back to all that driving. Maybe we can do at least some of our meetings online. It does save a lot of time as well as miles, and though there will always be times when we do need face to face meetings, is that true all the time? There’s no substitute for real human contact – but wouldn’t you rather that the human contact we focus on and spend the majority of our time on was with our family and friends, the ones we really care about?
Jesus said, seek first the Kingdom of God, and all else will fall into place (Matthew 6). He said this in the context of worry and anxiety for our daily needs – food, clothing, shelter – and the constant human rat race of getting ahead. How often are we so busy taking care of those daily needs that we don’t have time or energy to step back and look at the bigger picture. To wonder, if we did daily life differently, whether getting those things that we need might be less of a strain and struggle. The Kingdom of God, after all, is not a place – it is a way of living and being. It’s a focus and approach that is in tune with God.
Jesus was above all a teacher of wisdom. He showed us how to live a calmer, less frenzied life that is more in touch with our deepest needs. He showed us how to live according to God’s plan for humanity and in tune with the universe. He knew what he was talking about, and he lived it. Maybe in the coming weeks and months, if we could spend time in prayer, connecting with God and trying to catch His vision – not just for ourselves but for the world – then we could work hand in hand with God in co-creating a new world.
As I write this, I am reminded of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, where the hand of God stretches out to the hand of Adam, bringing life and the divine spark. God is always stretching out His hand to us. What infinite possibility might arise if we stretched out our hands and touched His?