2020 has been one heck of a year. Yes, I know, “heck” is just a polite way of saying “H-E-double hockey sticks,” but it seems to accurately describe how many have felt about this year which has been marked by global pandemic, unprecedented job loss, economic uncertainty, and racial, political, and social division. The church and the Gospel mission seem increasingly marginalized--shoved aside as our nation and world endure this cultural earthquake and its devastating aftershocks. When the earth stops quaking and we emerge from our places of refuge to take stock of the destruction and survey the landscape which is forever changed by the seismic shifts that have taken place, we will undoubtedly cry out to God in despair and lamentation for the losses sustained and the suffering we see all around. Yet in the midst of this cultural upheaval, I believe God is at work and is calling the church to continue his restorative work. With the earth still quaking the and the world still shaking, the mission of Jesus in the world draws the faithful to emerge out of hiding and into the chaos to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. Paul urges us in Ephesians 4 “to live worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” By “speaking the truth in love” we are called to grow up in every way into the image of Christ. This divided and devastated world desperately needs the united body of Christ. The world needs the hope and love of Jesus and God has given you and me, as members of the body of Christ, the calling to be the united body of Christ in the world. What does this look like? I think we are only beginning to learn all that this could look like for the future. But I believe it starts with prayer and lamentation and an emerging from our safe havens to love dangerously and care for the suffering. We need to listen to one another well, seeking mutual understanding and to build bridges instead of wall. Without ever compromising truth, we conquer evil with love and grace…just as Jesus has done for each of us. And when the aftershocks come, we cling to Jesus and his body, the Church. “For God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” - Psalm 46
Pastor Bryce Formwalt is the Director of Mission Growth for LCMC Texas District and Program Director of Harvest Workers, an online ministry training program (learn more at www.harvestworkers.net). Residing in Georgetown, Pastor Bryce is available to coach congregations on mission. Feel free to contact him with any questions or comments: 512-942-7776 or firstname.lastname@example.org.