There’s no doubt about it, we’re living in a “new normal” where everything looks different.
We’ve asked Andrew Lamberton to write us a blog about how we can share the Gospel in our everyday “new normal”. Here’s some practical advice about sharing God’s Word in the midst of our current situation.
“I Should Do Something—BUT WHAT?”
– by Andrew Lamberton
I emerge from my rabbit hole, poke my head out and wonder—what’s going to happen?
“I should do something—but what?”
My Christian experience has always been swamped with invitations; ‘come to our meeting,’ ‘join a small group,’ ‘we’re starting a new series in our midweek,’ and of course the “holiest” invite of all: ‘we’re forming a committee and are wondering if you’d like to join.’
At the start, these invites were vague and general. Vague in the sense that you had to attend to find out what it was. General in the sense that the invite wasn’t really for me it was for more for someone—anyone. There was a programme happening that would be beneficial for everyone, I was a someone, so I should attend. When I asked if I could bring a friend I was told ‘yeah, anyone’. After attending, I felt the warmth of Christian community and the nourishment of the Scriptures read and taught. This was indeed beneficial! It changed my life; it introduced me to my Saviour.
I now emerge from lockdown, and there are less than a few invites coming my way. Even for Sunday morning, I didn’t receive an invite but a request that if I wanted to come, I’d need to register. The church hasn’t shared the urgency that the business world has exhibited to ‘get back at it’. Maybe that’s because we are taking the opportunity to reset and refocus our churches as we enter a new season. I mean, to my knowledge, no church leadership has ever had the opportunity to reset all of their programmed activities from scratch. There is an opportunity here, one we’d do well to follow Jesus on. And on that, allow me to make a suggestion.
I could write from here about the preaching of the Bible in our COVID-19 world—which is vital. I could write about the accessibility of the Bible in our COVID-19 world—which is necessary. But right now let’s just think about us (aka The Church), emerging from our homes, with limited ‘big things’ happening that we can invite people to. How can we continue to introduce our friends and neighbours to Jesus through the Scriptures?
Jesus didn’t emerge from his home amid a pandemic. But he did emerge from the grave (HALLELUJAH) after defeating sin and death. I wonder what he asked himself on that first day? I’m sure it wasn’t, ’I should do something—but what?’ For he surely had all opportunities open to him. So He should do something—but what?
Should he transpose himself into the centre of a coliseum and display his resurrected body?
Should he pay Pontius Pilate a visit?
Should he ask the soldiers for his clothes back?
What should he do?
All of Christian theology and practise flows from the fact of the resurrection. It is the kernel of our faith. And if we are going to reset, we might as well go back to this moment. So let’s ZOOM in with Jesus on his resurrection day and see what he did as he emerged into a new normal!
The women have just discovered the empty tomb and then we can observe some of Jesus’ first actions at Luke 24:13-15:
“Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them.”
I’m going to ask you to read that again, because the first day of anything is significant; it displays your priorities. Potential presidents talk about what they are going to do ‘on my first day in office.’ When waiting for the lockdown to end we were dreaming about who we would visit when restrictions eased. And now, here is Jesus, on his first day after defeating sin and death. What is he going to do?
Now, read that passage again.
It’s not a big event Jesus organises or a guest appearance but the very first day, our risen King Jesus defies most logic and goes for a walk with 2 people as they discuss some Bible readings. Of every opportunity open to him, this is what he deems most important right then.
I find it fascinating that unlike my early Christian experience, there is nothing vague or general in what Jesus is doing. Rather than vague, it’s specific. Rather than general, it’s personal and Bible-based.
It’s specific because of all the things he could have done—he does this mentoring style Bible study. It’s personal because Jesus knew that relationship is the vehicle that carries truth to the heart—so he invites not fifty people he knows, but just two, to consider the Scriptures with him. It’s Bible-based because even though he is the Word made flesh he chooses to use Scripture to make himself known, giving us our model for ministry—use the Bible.
As we emerge from our homes, I pray we follow in the footsteps of our Saviour who emerged from the grave and then opened God’s word with a few people allowing them to see the risen Christ.
Big gatherings will come back again when it’s safe as will the youth groups, the senior citizens’ get-togethers and all the other stuff. But for now, we would do well to embrace the way of Jesus. Decide—despite all the things you can do—what you will do. Invite a couple of people you know, read some Scripture and start talking. It could just be the very thing that God will use to strengthen and extend his church.