If you’re reading this, then congratulations, you have successfully navigated almost one whole year in the pandemic. One year ago we were all bracing ourselves for the onslaught of fear, pain, death, anxiety and grief that none of us could’ve foreseen. In some ways 2020 seemed like three years in one, and the way 2021 has started it’s not looking much better. There is, however, one major difference. We have a much better idea of what we’re made of. We have discovered that we are tougher, stronger, more resourceful and more determined that we ever thought.
We have discovered that our churches, schools and communities are more resilient than we thought possible. We have discovered that the church really is more than its buildings and worship can happen in parks, zoom rooms, living rooms, and even cars. We have discovered that Christianity is deeply fractured and fragile. We have discovered that the “color-line—the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men” (W.E.B. DuBois) remains the problem of the 21st century. We have learned that the constitution actually works when we let it and that democracy can prevail when tested. We have learned that we can use technology for evangelism and discipleship, and that God really is still in the blessing business. Now the question we must ask, is what will we do with our new knowledge and experience?
Will we continue to wring our hands and worry about our survival? Or will we reacquaint ourselves with our sense of adventure and thrive into our future. I am reminded of the story of the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10:1-13) who went to meet Solomon when she heard about his great wisdom. She was the Queen of a large, thriving kingdom of her own, yet she set out on the adventure of a lifetime to satisfy her curiosity. She spent well over two years traveling across the dessert with her retinue because she wanted to test Solomon with hard questions. Her journey was not one without risk or peril but she allowed her sense of wonder and curiosity to carry her further than she had ever gone before. I’m sure she had moments of self-doubt; what if her intellect was no match for his? I’m sure she had moments of fear; what if they were attacked by unknown enemies or wild animals while sleeping under the desserts star-filled sky? I’m sure she had moments of regret; what if Solomon refused to see her after traveling all that way? The bible doesn’t tell us what her fears or apprehensions were, but it does tell us that she persevered and was rewarded with more than she expected.
The question we must ask ourselves is: What adventure is God calling us to? What work, that was impossible just a year ago, are we now poised to undertake? What vision has this “new normal” aligned us with? With opportunities are we now positioned to seize? What dreams are now finally ready to come to fruition? I don’t believe that we survived this past year just to keep overthinking, overtalking and over analyzing. I believe we survived to thrive, and to do it in a big, bold, audacious, adventurous way.
- What have you and your organization learned about yourselves this year?
- What have you and your organization learned about your community this year?
- What has God released you from that can be mourned and buried?
- What new adventures/opportunities is God calling you and your organization to?
- How can you steward these new adventures/opportunities faithfully?