Word for the Week
Short reflections on Bible passages, with a frontline focus...
‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’…
‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.
MARK 1:15, 17-18
The level of change that most of us have faced in the last six months has been significant. Social distancing, face masks, and hand sanitising have become normal. Home working, online meetings, and education, together with the use of social media, have grown exponentially. Expressions like ‘furloughed’ and ‘press unmute’ are often on our lips. Outings to the garden centre or tip have caused a level of excitement unthinkable a year ago. Alongside these have been more distressing changes: bereavement, business collapse, job loss, postponed weddings or other celebrations, and isolation.
The psychological journey that accompanies change is known as transition. This journey has recognised stages: (1) signals of change, (2) ending well, (3) dis-orientation, and (4) re-orientation. Whilst transition may not occur as neatly as these stages suggest, it is the process by which we assimilate the practical, emotional, mental, and spiritual changes that are happening.
Christians are arguably best placed to cope with the level of disruption that has resulted from the pandemic. We are called to an unpredictable life. As with the first disciples, the call to ‘follow’ Jesus requires instant response, whether that call is to witness to a colleague, challenge a business directive, faithfully persevere in a difficult context, or to ‘leave our nets’. We do so because, as Jesus announced, God’s reign in this world is being established. The inner transition required is to ‘repent and believe’. Repent means to ‘turn back’ – turn back, perhaps, from the idols of convenience, comfort, and control. And believe – trust in the goodness, love, and reign of our God.
Change is the new normal. Whilst change may be sudden, we see examples of the longer, inner journey of transition throughout the Scriptures, be it forty years in the wilderness, a year of beauty treatments, forty days in the desert, or ten days in an upper room. Times in which God prepares his people for the new phase or role he is initiating.
Our autumn prayer journey, ‘Navigating Transition’, begins next week. Over 40 days we will explore the inner re-orientation and redefinition that is needed in order to incorporate any changes into our life. God always accompanies and guides us on this journey of transition and so we have incorporated specific prayer practices into this process. Do join us!
Prayer Journeys Project Leader, LICC