Living Into a Post-COVID Era
From IM OnLine Issue 14
November 2, 2020
A year ago, I made all my domestic and international travel plan for 2020. The COVID crisis completely changed not just my plan, but all our plans! When I preached in the first virtual worship service of my church, the Chinese Christian Church and Center in Philadelphia in March, I was still talking about when we would return to “normal.” I repent! The pandemic has challenged our unintentional false belief that we are always in control and that we always have the answer. The longer we hold onto this false belief, the more our stupidity to play God is revealed. Such a false belief causes us to only ask, “How can we help our international partners?” Rather than also asking, “How can our international partners help us.”
Ms. Hongyu She, associate general secretary of the Amity Foundation, an independent Chinese social organization, urged me to remind my fellow Americans to wear masks back in February. I did by sending emails and posting the alert in chat groups and Facebook. In May, when China began to resume production of medical materials, Amity sent IM 2,000 protective masks to thank us for our help in the previous months. Rev. Samaresh Nayak, executive director of the India mission coordination committee, Taku and Katie, IM country coordinators for South Asia, and I started several chat groups to share COVID updates and advice for churches. While I was focusing on COVID relief, participants of the chat groups started a 24 hour prayer rally, virtual joint Baptist worship, and the publication of the India Baptist Herald, a weekly newsletter to share spiritual reflections and prayer requests for the situation and needs of each district. Now Baptists of different mission and church backgrounds in South Asia are forming a national council of Baptist churches in South Asia. When established, they will represent more than five million members.
“We were divided because we believed that we had more and we were more capable, but during this COVID crisis, we realized that we are equally vulnerable and need each other.” Rev. Nayak shared.
I believe that we will not be going back to a pre-COVID time. We are already living a new normal which is yet to be fully comprehended. I believe that it is the Kairos – God’s right time – to invite us to practice living beyond COVID. And as this Ancient Greek word means the right and opportune time, I believe it is our opportunity to discern a new paradigm of how to be a Christian and how to be on mission. I believe that God is calling the global IM family, in the US and overseas, to listen to each other, and together to listen to God to truly be not from the North, the South, nor from the East or the West, not from ‘the have’ or the ‘have not’, but a family and mission of all nations.
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