Critical Times
written by Rev Gary Heard

It is not often that the collective eyes of a nation of the world are focussed upon the same thing. The Challenger Space Shuttle disaster, the events of September 11, and the invasion of Iraq are perhaps global events which drew everyone’s gaze, while the apology to Indigenous Australians by the national parliament earlier this year is an Australian example. Over the past week, with the financial collapse unfolding around the world, it is difficult not to be caught up in the realisation that we are perhaps in the midst of an event which we will be talking about for generations. The uncertainty is coloured with deep shades of fear. We do not know how this will find resolution, but one thing is sure – the world is going through an irrevocable shift in global economics. The markets are awash with people in flight – looking to remove their investment from the share markets in order to invest in something more certain. What that might be is tempered by the vulnerability of the banking system, and the belief in the soundness of particular economies – including that of the United States. Past certainties are evaporating.

The christian faith is birthed around an event of even more significant proportions than we are currently witnessing. The death and resurrection of Jesus sent shockwaves through the world – political, theological and spiritual shockwaves which ultimately transformed the entire world – upsetting almost every system and assumption on which it had been built. Even Jesus’ followers were left with little realisation of what they needed to do when the full reality of the events began to dawn upon them. And yet they became the vehicle through which the continuing ministry of Jesus unfolded. Through their responses – and in spite them – God continued a remarkable work which continues to this day, and of which we are both a fruit of yesterday and a seed of tomorrow.

How did the disciples unfold their response? By waiting and watching, by praying and examining the scriptures for fresh insight and understanding. What does the Bible say about the issues which are coming to the forefront of our current crisis? What insights do scripture and theology give us about money and possessions, wealth and power, responsible financial choices, lifestyle and stewardship, compassion, generosity and justice, and about personal and social responsibility? Just as the early disciples spent some time in prayer and reflection before springing to action – it was many weeks between resurrection and pentecost – so we too need to heed the call to prayer and serious reflection on God’s call to us in this crisis.

Every crisis brings a new and creative opportunities, not only for pastoral care, but for innovation and community. What is God saying to us at this time?


October 12, 2008
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