When it comes to keeping in step with the Spirit, discernment is a key piece in knowing what we should be doing. This is true for individuals who desire to follow Jesus into the world, but it is also true of the church both locally and nationally. But how does the church in Canada discern together? Where do we gather? How is it led?
I very much appreciated being part of the Commons Zoom meetings. One of the things that encouraged me most was the simple fact that the conversation was happening. We’ve all heard people quip, “We’re in this together,” but on the call it felt like we were together as the Canadian Church.
Perhaps what I most appreciated was that it was not a panel of experts telling us what we should know, it was actually a team of facilitators who presented a passage from John to help guide our communal thinking. It was as if the apostle John was providing some guidance. And, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we were trying to discern what was being said. And we were beginning to sense some patterns. Our discernment may have been “dimly” and “in part” but slowly and gradually light was dawning.
Of course, as with most discernment, there is always an aspect of faith. However, I think the COVID-19 crisis has afforded us an unique opportunity to “reboot.” We need to carefully consider how we might transition well into what is next.
Hopefully, soon, we will begin to see more of the familiar rhythms of our lives begin to reemerge. As they do, it will take a courageous intransigence for the church to resist returning to the old patterns which were toxic. At some point we will have to respond to what we believe the Spirit was saying by doing that which we feel He has called us to. It is as if we are being given a second chance to be salt in our culture and prevent the putrefying rot of individualism, consumerism and frenetic activity that has laid waste to the soul of our culture.
Perhaps COVID-19 was given as a time of rest before we engage in the real demanding work which still lies ahead.