New Year, Old Hope, New Eyes
So that was 2020! A year that I think many of us would like to forget.
Let’s hope that in 2021 the world can start returning to normal, that life can become what it was, and that we can get back on with the things we were doing before.
Except, let’s not.
This year has been hard for many of us, but it’s also has opened our eyes afresh to see the world around us more clearly.
We are now more aware of the number of people who face poverty each day*.
We are now more aware of the number of people who live in debt**.
We are now more aware of those who daily face prejudice, discrimination, and victimisation***.
2020 has been hard. Loneliness has increased^, wealth inequality has risen^^, debt amongst the poorest has grown, and cracks within our society have widened.
But we have a reason to hope. Over the last year, we have experienced what could be described as an apocalypse.
In ancient Greek, ‘apocalypse’ is not really about destruction at all. Instead, it is about things being uncovered or revealed, and once those things are revealed, they can’t be covered over again.
This year has revealed many things that were faults beneath the surface of our society for a long time, and now they have been brought into the light the church must stand against them.
We must be the people who continue to remind the world around us about what we have witnessed this year; the pain, the suffering, the inequality of those who are forgotten by those in power or those who are comfortable.
And we must do this, not because we believe that God’s plan is for the good life for all of us, but because we believe that He calls us to ‘do justly, [to] love mercy’ (Micah 6:8), He calls us to show our love of Him by ‘lov[ing] our neighbour as ourselves’ (Matthew 22:39). He calls us to see our fellow humans as fellow image-bearers and to treat them with the love, care, and dignity they deserve (Luke 20:24-25).
Our hope is not that we can heal the world through doing this, but that we can point towards a better future, where weapons of destruction become tools of creation, where we are drawn together by what unites us instead of separated by what divides us.
In the words of Tom Wright, our job is to reach forward into this new world and pull back a piece of it into the here and now.
Or in the words of Jesus, we are to be salt and light, to highlight the right things and point towards what is good.
As we enter the new year, let’s keep our eyes and hearts set on the hope that we have in Jesus. Let’s not lose sight of the new insights we’ve been given, but instead let’s be ready to get our hands dirty, working with Him to bring some small parts of that future into existence today.