Dealing with the reality of COVID-19 has been a process of sudden stop, adaptation and continual evolving. We’ve not been able to settle into one thing and then get on with it. There is still no “new normal”.
So much change and uncertainty makes us ask questions. Questions about the world, God, ourselves, and our role in it.
I was challenged recently about the inclination to hold onto an overly nostalgic view of the past "normal", rather than remembering the ongoing challenges, injustices and inequalities that were, and still are. As COVID-19 forces us to in many ways stop and change, it is a good opportunity to re-evaluate what we are doing and where we are going.
I was drawn to Luke 4:18-19 where Jesus articulates what could, should and will be:
“God's Spirit is on me; he's chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, To set the burdened and battered free, to announce, "This is God's year to act!" (The Message)
This mission that Jesus started, is the mission we are called to continue as the Church. The mission to bring the Good News to the world and to see lives, communities, and societies transformed by it.
COVID-19 has changed so much, but I am so reassured by the fact that God hasn’t changed through the pandemic, and his mission hasn't changed either. Despite the uncertainty of this season, the question we still need to ask ourselves is,
'How is God calling me to be part of his mission team?'
This unprecedented crisis offers new opportunities to connect with other people in mission, offers space to explore things from the comfort of our own homes, and to try things out in our own contexts (government regulations permitting, of course). I recently heard of one of our gap year alumni who started an online Bible study group for their friends exploring faith. They said their friends would never have come to church or even CU, but wanted to find out about Jesus and the Bible.
I'd also encourage you to invest in this time as a season of preparation. Releasing people in mission, especially overseas mission, takes preparation. Preparing our hearts in prayer, un-learning and re-learning, gathering people around us to journey with us and having our attitudes examined. It’s a time for us to get on our knees and sit at the feet of Jesus. Pray, pray, pray and then pray some more. Listen to what the Spirit is saying. Dig into God's word. It’s time to discern where the doors open up.
God’s call on our lives hasn’t changed, but this season calls for innovative ways of living missionally, sharing Jesus with others, and living out the adventure that is following Christ.
If you feel a nudge to explore your sense of calling, do connect with a SWAN member organisations to find out more.
By Susann Haehnel, vocational recruitment manager at Church Mission Society.