Being real, present and visible
As I write, it is the first anniversary of the Grenfell fire tragedy. The Bishop of Kensington is being interviewed on the news, various services have taken place in religious buildings, many prayers have been offered. We have grown sadly used to faith forming the backdrop to enormous, terrible events, as well as more joyous ones such as the recent Royal wedding. When questions and challenges of powerful significance are raised, it is still faith that forms the natural arena for their utterance, even in our increasingly secular age. In the weeks leading up to the anniversary, and the opening of the enquiry into the fire, several reports were published which detailed and considered the response of faith groups to the events of June 2017 in West London. Unsurprisingly they were huge, in the report of the Theos Think Tank*, consideration was given to the reasons for, and consequences of, this reality. Three things stood out; faith groups were able to make an impact when Government, council and statutory services struggled. They were able to do so because they were, or were perceived to be, real, presentand visible.
This ought not to be surprising. Christian faith is rooted in reality, presence and visibility. The incarnation, God becomes flesh in Jesus Christ, imagines God in the most real, present and visible way possible. Christians are, out of necessity, ‘hands on’, available and engaged. When it comes to meeting the challenge of millions of, often untold, tragedies around the world, the very issues that the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are seeking to address, if the UN had to invent an agency to best deliver them, it would be one real; trusted and with integrity across all sectors. It would be present; engaged and passionate, motivated to make a difference, and visible; active in specific localities all around the world, in both developed and under developed nations. It would be something like the church at its best, as it’s called to be. So, if you are a Christian reading this, that means you, together with others, are in prime position to become the key responders to a world in need. Uniquely able to make a difference that not only chimes with the here and now call of 193 countries around the world, but also meets the ever-present spiritual challenge to establish the kingdom of this oh so visible saviour, on earth as it is in heaven. That is EP2030’s reason and purpose, do come and join us and be a part of it.
*After Grenfell: The Faith Groups’ Response; Amy Plender https://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/cmsfiles/Reportfiles/Theos-After-Grenfell.pdf