The Journey We Face Now
There has been no clear trail on the journey we face now. The government tried their best to navigate this pandemic situation that nobody has the answers to. Lockdowns, isolation and keeping 1.5 metres away from people seem to be the way forward, but at what cost? Nobody likes “being sent to Coventry,” and the segregation and separation of being in isolation can lead to an exclusion that is felt within the void souls who are desperate to be a part of the community again.
In Stanley Grenz and Jay Smith’s book, ‘Created for community,’ they talk about our vertical commitment to Jesus which shapes our very lives as believers, and as the church we are a pioneering community. And it is through this vertical commitment to God that we see a horizontal commitment to each other. As we reflect God’s own character we become a genuine, loving community that the old distinctions of ethnic origin, social status, and gender are no longer significant. In this expression of the bond that is between believers, it is the Holy Spirit that constitutes a collection of individuals into a fellowshipping people who have banned together in the task of winning the lost. (Pages 176-179)
So, the journey we face now is to frame what the Holy Spirit has established in us as believers and to bring that common allegiance that beams out of us as a community into the darkness of this world. When you discover the vertical love of God, then and only then can the horizontal love be felt across all our communities.
The journey we face now is to strengthen the bond of God’s vertical love and to let the Holy Spirit do what He does best. The mistake we make as believers is that we neglect the relationship and fellowship with Jesus and then, out of our own strength we try and build the horizontal love in loving others. But we cannot have one without the other. To have the capacity of loving others, regardless of their ethnic origin, social status or gender we need to have a deep connection with our Father in heaven first.
The journey we now face is the battle within ourselves to keep us from slipping into a slave mentality and complain to God that we were, “…better off in Egypt” because the wilderness of this isolation is making us tired and weary. We start to feed into the lie that the world seemed a far better place before this pandemic started. However, this type of thinking is dangerous to the believer, like a mirage that we can only see when we’ve become so delusional and dehydrated in the desert because we have not kept the living water of God’s Word topped up in the well of our souls, which leaves room for apathy and an immature behaviour that doesn’t reflect the true character of God. The world hasn’t gotten any worse; it’s just that this pandemic has highlighted the fact that we as a church need to step up and rise into our calling now more than ever.
Galatians 6:9-10 reminds us to, ‘…never tire of doing what is good and right before our Lord because in His season we shall bring in a great harvest if we can just persist. So seize any opportunity the Lord gives you to do good things and be a blessing to everyone, especially those within our faithful family.’
When we are committed to God, when we cultivate and sow into the vertical bond that is the relationship between us and Jesus, we will naturally flow into a horizontal love towards other people. I believe during this pandemic that the fields are ripe for harvest and if we trust God and let Him do the heavy lifting then we will regain our strength and soar on wings as eagles. (Isaiah 40:31)
The journey we face now is to position ourselves in the heart of the community and to show people that church isn’t a static building but a pioneering community that lives out the vertical love of God, which in turn leads to a horizontal commitment to each other and then to others. An authentic, genuine love that flows both vertical and horizontal? Looks like the shape of the cross to me.