The events of the year 2020 may have forced some faith groups in Grenada and the Caribbean to reconsider and reshape our current church construct to become more resilient while remaining relevant. In fact, while some people may have underestimated the impact that George Floyd’s killing had on the religious community across the world, it clearly brought the issues of race relations, racial and restorative justice at the forefront of faith groups including churches. And yet, COVID-19 in its own twisted way may have done the same.
For the non-religious, some may say, “Out of bad, comes good.’ For the religious, some are saying, ‘What the enemy planned for evil, God intended for good…’ Gen 50:20.
From whichever perspective, our churches and other faith-based organisations are reshaping to meet needs brought on by current issues. And this is the power of spirituality when we are willing to come off from the religious box and reshape to better serve our communities and countries. And it is an exciting time. Furthermore, the year 2020 has exposed political, social and theological issues and ignited into flame other issues that had been smouldering below our surfaces for years. Consequently, some faith groups are moving from the question of, “Why get involved in such a world?” to “How can we get involved?”, and this is good. If issues of abuse, homelessness, poverty, sexuality and violence, challenge our sense of identity and purpose then, and by applying Christian thinking, faith groups help transform our society, then I say bring it on.
But as John Stott and John Wyatt noted inIssues Facing Christians Today: 4th Edition, “It is sadly still the case that some believe that Christians do not have a social responsibility in this world but only a commission to evangelize those who have not heard the gospel. Yet it is evident that in his public ministry Jesus both went about … teaching … and preaching (Matt 4:23; 9:35) and went about doing good and healing (Acts 10:38). In consequence, evangelism and social concern have been intimately related to one another throughout the history of the Church.” God is a God of love and justice. God desires and asks us, as God’s people, to live justly, and champion the cause of the poor, persecuted, and powerless. So rather than faith groups escaping the world, let us together engage it with the Word.
Rev Vonnie James, Grenada Baptist Association