Shalom. Rob here.
As we take a step back and look at the bigger picture we can see a world in transition. Covid-19 is steadily remaking the world one infection at a time. Economies and the entire global economy is under threat. Those that are adaptable, sustainable and cunning will survive. We may be returning to a time when economies are self-sustaining as globalism comes to a screeching halt. The effects of climate change continues apace, especially as countries try and reopen. Scorching temperatures in Siberia are just one sign that rapid melting of the once frozen north may not be far away. After that, things get scary for all of us. The protests for racial justice that have swept the western world tell us that the age of white dominance; a hangover from colonialism, is coming to an end. We don’t know what we are transitioning into but it’s becoming clear that we are transitioning out of unchecked free-market economics, excessive reliance on fossil fuels and racist, colonial mindsets that keep people of colour in places of disadvantage.
That may sound awfully political to you and it is. It is the current context that our faith has to be practiced in. The early disciples practiced their faith as a dissident minority in a time of empire. Our faith is always at its best when it is disassociated from the empires of the world, whether they be political. economic or social. As an increasingly vocal movement seeks to break away from the powers of the past, followers of Christ are invited to imagine a better future and lead the way into it.
God loves his people, his planet and justice. How do we partner with him in this time of transition? How do we bring the needs of the big picture into our smaller pictures and realities? I believe the starting point is in how we pray.
Prayer is a place where we can stop fighting the changes going on around us. Our bodies don’t like change. Change puts us on edge. Anxiety is a real threat, as is passivity. Prayer is a place where we can agree with God. We agree with the change that’s consistent with his will and character and mission, and resist the changes that are responses of fear and control. It’s a place where we can align our lives with his will. Prayer is a posture of humility and courage; confidence and desperation; rest and desire. It is a place to be still and a place to learn to move.
The effectiveness of prayer in aligning our will to God’s will is directly related to our willingness to truly give ourselves over to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We can do this freely because the starting point of prayer and surrender is that we are richly and unconditionally loved by God. From that foundation of love we allow God to examine our thoughts, motivations, assumptions, upbringings, wounds, decisions and more in every aspect of our lives, from purchasing choices to relationship choices to vocational choices and every other choice we make in life. It is then to make an exchange; our agenda for God’s plan; our solutions for God’s answers; our wayward emotions for God’s joy, peace and love; our despair for God’s hope.
The goal is to be awake to God’s voice, his nudges, his reminders of who we are and who we belong to that then influence our choices and our behaviour. We learn to see Jesus at work in the world and, therefore, follow him into that world. It’s a hard and narrow path as we navigate this changing world but, Jesus knows the way. Through prayer, surrender, willingness and humility I believe that his people, his church can lead many to life in him.
Jesus, we love you.
Jesus, we trust you.
Jesus, we follow you.