I’m not sure about you, but I seem to have multiple invitations to join online seminars, webinars and conferences which are focused on how to reimagine learning as a result of the pandemic. Experts in their field are sharing what we need to do less of, more of, change and cultivate. While many of these opportunities are very useful, I am finding the most valuable insights are coming from dedicating regular time to listening to what God has to say.
We have been given the opportunity to stop, and to listen, listen deeply and carefully to what God says about our connectivity to God and to others. We can sometimes make assumptions about what God wants us to do. Is it to run around following our own agenda from meeting to meeting, event to event to the point of exhaustion? Or is it to make time to be still, to allow God time to speak to us, reassure us of God’s unconditional love, to reflect on the important, core aspects of life, of learning, of how we live as Christians reflecting love which meets everyone where they are.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:11-12
The Old Testament is full of stories of God’s people, leaders and nations, turning their backs on God’s love and God’s desire for people to love God, each other and creation. Instead they focused on self, greed, and service of other ‘gods’ which ultimately resulted in the downfall of the nation and exile. In come the prophets with their message of a new world order, one where God’s love abounds, where there is a spirit of care for creation, love and compassion for all, especially the vulnerable, a love which is full of action:
“See that justice is done, let mercy be your first concern, and humbly obey your God” Micah 6: 8
“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:17
“For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.” Deuteronomy 10:18-19
So, let’s firstly reimagine or refocus on who we are. We are not the sum of how hard we work and what we achieve, rather we are uniquely created people, loved unconditionally by God, empowered and equipped to reflect this love regardless of where we are, what we are doing and who we are with. Living in the awareness of God’s presence and love in and with us, changes ‘how we show up’ in our personal, social and professional lives.
How might we reimagine our learning communities where the number one priority is reflecting love which meets everyone where they are at? Radical in its simplicity. We have ‘our foundation’ statements from Growing deep which go back to the words of the prophets, which Jesus also spoke and lived: ‘respond to the needs of the world’, ‘care for the world and its people’ ‘live in relationship with God and others …reflect the unconditional love of the Father”.
What a great opportunity as we move into the second half of 2020 to focus on love, God’s love for us, with no strings attached and our opportunity to lead communities which reflect God’s love in action!