Hoped to get something new posted today, but I’ve been self-isolating with the dog. (That’s him above. In philosophical mode.) Continuous cough, feeling crashed out and other nasties. But no fever, thankfully.
So, this is a rough draft of something I cobbled together yesterday for other reasons.
Not quite stale bread …
I was thinking this morning of Paul who, after listing all of his hardships, seemed to say that the greatest of all was caring for the churches (2 Cor 11).
I think this burden is powerfully illustrated in Acts 20 when he says goodbye to the leaders of the Ephesus church.
He lived among them and talked to them both in public and private. He had been physically present for an extended period of time (18 to 20).
He anticipated tough times ahead. He didn’t know what awaited him. He knew that he was stepping into uncertainty (22 and 23).
His burden for the leaders was that they looked after themselves and also the flock under their care (28).
His conviction was that wolves would come in and devour the flock (29).
(This in the absence of face-to-face, personal shepherding and encouragement).
His concern was to help the weak (35).
And when Paul was away from the churches he had planted he wrote letters.
Today we have the internet.
The Roman Empire opened the world for the gospel to go from Jerusalem to the edges of empire.
After Stephen’s death the gospel spread through the diaspora.
New connections were made in a time of hardship.
The principle is the same (eg missionary expansion in the 19th century, the growth of the church under communism, etc., etc.)
Today the millennial generation has opened up the technology of the internet (think Zuckerberg and Facebook).
It seems to me that Gen Z is providing a moral compass for the world (think Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg)
Looks like the world is at a pivotal point in history, even more so than at the time of Spanish flu.
This is a time of internal diaspora.
But God will raise up the church to respond.
And what is the Spirit saying to us today?
How to we share what he is saying?
How do we respond?