For Such A Time As This
This week Helen shares some thoughts provoked by recent talks.
During Rob’s talk Surviving Hard Times, he stated that we were made for this time. That phrase really struck me.
It’s not a surprise to God that we are living during this time. In fact, he created us especially for it! And not only that but ‘We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do’.
That means that we were born for this time but also that God has prepared good works for us to do during this time.
When I realised this, it completely re-framed lockdown for me. Instead of it being a time to hide, there is now purpose. Whilst it might feel like wilderness, it’s actually a time for action.
Simon’s talk, Jesus’ Kingdom Manifesto, reminded me of this again.
We don’t need to wait until lockdown and Covid is over to bring the ‘year of favour’. We are living in it and God has prepared good works for us to do during it, in order to bring the ‘year of favour’ everywhere we go or (don’t go)!
Even during Covid!
When Jesus said this time has come, he didn’t mean it came and went. It wasn’t historical. The year of favour arrived, and it’s still here.
The Year of Favour
2020 and now into 2021, IS the year of favour!
So, if we are believers and we profess to follow Jesus, we’ve bought into:
Proclaiming good news (and that’s with words AND actions)
Living out of compassion for others
That’s what Jesus said had arrived. That’s how he described the ‘year of favour’ and the coming of his kingdom. This is what Jesus was all about.
And if that’s what Jesus is all about, then that’s what we’re about. This word from Jesus wasn’t for the ‘chosen few with a heart for the poor’. It was for all believers – then and now.
We live here but we are citizens of this Kingdom of good news. We have a King who is unlike any other. We live prophetic lives, effectively as outposts of Jesus’s kingdom wherever we are.
What does that look like in our zoom-life, our family life, our work, school, college and Uni lives?
Listen to what Rob has to say about this: What is favour?
What does the Year of Favour look like in Covid times?
How can we do the good works that were prepared in advance for us to do whilst in lockdown?
What even are those good works?
I love the way Simon spoke about Jesus’s inclusivity. He upset the religious groups because he included those who they felt were outside of God’s ‘remit’. As someone who has to write lots of funding applications in my work, I know how often people are looking for those who are ‘deserving’. But Jesus included the ones who society believed weren’t deserving. Lepers, oppressive leaders, women, sex-workers.
Who are those people today? And how do we live that one out?
Our very name, Jubilee, means we are not a church that locks down. We are not a group of believers who hide in the upper room. We are called to bring the day of favour – proclaiming the good news, doing justice, living out of compassion for others every single day. This is our collective and individual identity. Covid or not.
We were made for this time.
There is purpose to our lockdown.
We were made to do the good works God has prepared in advance for us to do.
We follow the lead of Jesus our King and work to bring his kingdom wherever we find ourselves.
What can we do?
Here are some suggestions of what we can do whilst at home:
Write and send an encouraging letter
Make a cake for a neighbour or local teacher
Swap prayer lists with someone else and pray through their list
Donate food to a foodbank
Put an encouraging card through your neighbours’ doors
Read bedtime stories and record yourself on video. Send to families who might need to hear another voice.
Refurbish laptops/devices for the local school families who need them
Text one person a day with an encouraging message
Donate time or clothes to the Children’s storehouse
Offer to walk the dog for a neighbour who is isolating or shielding
Knit hats, gloves, scarves for people facing homelessness and donate to a local homelessness charity
What other ideas do you have of what you might do?
Hands & Feet of Christ