Rebuilding the World

by Michael Ford last modified 22 May, 2020 10:24 PM

Leading charity Tearfund has released a guide to what might be worth taking forward from the current pandemic.

Seeking to foster debate and action, the opening paragraphs of 'The World Rebooted' say:

"In the midst of the current coronavirus crisis, many are beginning to wonder what life might look like afterwards. Might this be a chance to create a new normal? For many years, Tearfund has walked alongside communities around the world as they respond to disasters, helping them to recover and create a more resilient 'new normal'. Now, we each face a similar opportunity: how can we ‘build back better’, and what is the church’s role?

"In response to coronavirus, churches around the world have adapted quickly to serve their communities. With online services, food distribution networks, phone banks for the isolated and much more, we have been finding new ways to be a light in the darkness, to love our neighbours and care for the most vulnerable. Although our church buildings may be closed, the role of the church in wider society has never been more important. We’ve seen increasing numbers of people engage with church and heard stories of a rise in spiritual hunger.

"Whilst this is likely to be a drawn out crisis, we can already start to play a vital role in shaping what happens next. Crises of this scale give us, as a society, the rare opportunity to ask questions about who we are and about our place in the world. As the people of God, we are called to abide in Christ and let his life flow in and through us. As we emerge from this crisis, how do we do this? How can we embody the values of Christ’s kingdom and point people to a better way of living, in the midst of a hurt and broken world? This is an invitation to a conversation and to action."

Tearfund's Dr Ruth Valerio, who wrote this year's Archbishop's Lent Book, 'Saying Yes To Life', recently explained:

"As hard as it is to hear, the outbreak of coronavirus is not a ‘natural disaster’. It is a disaster of our own making. Viruses jump species and get into humans, and environmental destruction makes this more likely to happen as people are brought into closer contact with virus-carrying animals."

The guide also notes that this interconnectedness is part of the answer:

"Among the disorientating chaos and anxiety of this almost global lockdown, many are rediscovering the centrality of our connection with God, and with those around us. People are reaching out to God and to each other. In the UK, community WhatsApp groups, online Alpha courses and daily prayer rhythms have all sprung up as the distractions of modern life are stripped away.

"For many, this is a moment of spiritual awakening, and in the past, spiritual awakenings have so often gone hand in hand with social renewal."

And that there are 3 key shifts emerging: from lonely individuality to 'us together'; from valuing productivity to valuing life; and from token gestures to new ways of life.

Tearfund encourages us to talk about what part we can play, how to apply lessons so that everyone flourishes, and how we can address the climate crisis.

The 'action' part comprises suggestions for praying together, convening discussion meetings, writing to newspapers and MPs, and praying 'Your Kingdom Come.'

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