INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE END OF THE WORLD
At the risk of sounding terribly redundant, we are in historic times. Not only are we slowly exiting 2 years of global pandemic, with the specter of total World War hanging over us, but the Christian Church itself is facing an existential crisis; it has both nothing and everything to do with these two major challenges.
Fear is the common enemy in all conflict. Fear has been running rampant throughout the pandemic. Fear of death, fear of illness, fear of threatening someone else's life with careless behavior. It has been compounded by the fear for our democracy, the fear around liberty and freedom and lack of shared responsibility. The fear of government bumping up against the fear of vigilantism. And now a real possibility of World War 3 faces us.
The Christian Church should have something to say in the face of all of these conflicts, in the face of all this fear. The Christian Church should have meaningful responses to: threats to health and collective safety, collective decision-making, the threat of violence, and the desire for freedom. Often, though, the wider culture sees Christianity as largely silent and therefore complicit in these conflicts rather than as communities of bold actors working to undermine them.
How has your participation in the local church helped you carry a vision that led you away from fear? How has being part of a congregation that prides itself on centering collective decision-making increased your trust? How has communal prayer and worship reduced tension, reactivity, and stress in your body? How have you tasted freedom as a result of having a church community to lean on over the last two years?
The fact is, the church does have meaningful responses to the real fears we feel and face today. Each of you reading this have felt some of those responses, have known the gift this community has to give. Our challenge now is to learn how to share this gift, how to invite the fearful into community and into the perfect love of God that casts out all fear. If the world is ending tomorrow, how then shall we live today? Hopefully, the same way we live every day: seeking justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with our God.
In Peace and Love, Pastor Andrew