The MSA team has just completed two very successful but draining days of planning. We have talked a lot about Jubilee and our desire to enable followers of Christ to dream new dreams and reimagine how to live and serve God in a changing world with the wonderful shalom future of God in mind. It seems such an appropriate time to do this as the US government moves relentlessly towards a precipice that could put the whole world wide economy in jeopardy.
How do we live in these challenging times, remaining faithful to God’s call to bring freedom and liberation for all who are oppressed and marginalized? It is easy to feel overwhelmed not just by the chaos of our times but by the magnitude of the problems around us – climate change, rising joblessness, economic chaos, droughts, floods, starvation, sex trafficking, massacres in Norway – the horrors confront us at every turn and we want to disengage.
Becoming world changers does not start with becoming crusaders. In fact it is my experience that if we start there we often end up with a worse problem than we started with.
Becoming world changers begins in the place of prayer – not just intercessory prayer where we lift the heartache of our world before God but contemplative prayer where sit in the presence of God sensing God’s heartache and reaching in to the compassion and love that resides only in God’s deepest heart. Without this we will never sustain ourselves or others sufficiently to respond to the challenging and horrific needs that fill our world. Our ability to enter into the reality of God’s new world of abundance and wholeness for all only comes when we have given voice to the deep pain and anguish in our hearts. It is our screams of horror, our tears of anguished repentance and our deep heart centred compassion towards those who have suffered that makes it possible for us to respond and reach out to strangers as though they were our closest friends.
However we will never become world changers if we spend all our lives sitting in a quiet secluded place weeping for the world. Contemplation requires active engagement. It frees our hearts and our minds to look beyond ourselves and our own desires and infuse all our actions with love and compassion. It enables us to lay down our own self centred lives and desires for personal significance so that we can be truly open to the spirit of God acting in and through us.
In all that we face in our turbulent, dysfunctional world at the present time we need to remember that though we feel we have lost control, God has not. We don’t need to ask why but rather what can I do in order to bring glimpses of God’s new world into being? What is God already doing and how can I become a part of it?
Often the moves of God that are transforming our world really do appear as hidden mustard seeds planted in dark places. And often they sprout and grow before we even realize that something has changed. So look around you today and see where God is at work. Join in and together we can transform our world.