During these crazy times I have had conversations where people have asked “what can we do?”. Churches have asked “How should the church respond to the COVID 19 crisis?” After facilitating a dialogue with a group of young faith leaders and speaking on the radio today about the reality of racism in Canada, may I suggest a different approach? Specifically, may I suggest all of us start by asking the right question?
One of my guiding principles in life is that we need to learn to ask the right questions. While right questions do not always lead to easy or even clear answers, bad questions, in contrast, ALWAYS lead to bad answers.
“What should the church do?” is not a good question. It has the wrong subject and verb. If we start by asking “What should the church do?” We will end up only DOING more CHURCHY things. EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Instead of asking “What should the church do?” or “What is the Christian response?” or “What the place of faith in this time of crisis?”, etc. Can I suggest a simpler, clearer, better, and, dare I suggest, a more “biblical” question:
“Where is Jesus in all of this?”
Where is Jesus in when the most vulnerable, most marginalized, most voiceless, most forgotten in our society are suffering the worst in the COIVD 19 crisis? (I can show you numbers and stats that will break your heart)
Where is Jesus when racism runs deep in this land we call home and is systematic and structural and chronic and passed on from one generation to the next?
Where is Jesus in the face of injustice, when the innocents are crushed and perpetrators of violence seemingly go unpunished?
I can go on, but you get my point.
So, stop asking what churches should do and how faith should respond and other questions like that.
STOP. Now, LOOK. Look for Him.
Where is Jesus in all of this? He is here. He always is.
If you don’t see him, it means 3 things: (1) You are looking for Him in the wrong places. (2) You are looking for Him among the wrong people, and (3) You are not looking hard enough.
Go back, re-read His story in the Bible. Pay attention to the kinds of places He was frequently found, and the kinds of folks He liked to hang out with. That should give you some clues.
Now, go find those places, go look for those folks in our day and look again. Where is He? Do you see Him?
May I suggest THAT, is the most important question for us to ask. THAT, will lead us to answers to all those other questions.
Because once we have found Him, once we see Him, we will know exactly what we should do.