NEWS

One wild and precious life: Reflections on stewardship in the pandemic

By Ven. Graham Bland

The meaning of Stewardship is being refreshed, for me, by the pandemic.

Every day, we pray for God’s Kingdom to come on earth. The pandemic has us thinking more deeply and broadly about our Church’s mission to care for the earth and its inhabitants by proclaiming and embodying the Good News of Jesus Christ in all nations.

Perhaps more than ever, we are aware of the global human family… “We’re in this together”. We always were, but COVID-19 has brought it home.

The coronavirus brings attention to the health of our relationships: with ourselves (our inner life), with our human sisters and brothers (justice and peace), and with the earth (our environment).

Our awareness grows that human civilization is put at risk by our encroachments and over-burdening of wild nature. COVID-19 may come from our trespass on the territory of wild animals.

We may be more mindful of the shortness and uncertainty of life, how precious it is and what we plan to do (in Mary Oliver’s language) “with our one wild and precious life.”

One of our companions in the Diocese of Amazonia is Beatriz White Carvalho, who recently turned 98. Beatriz once said in a Bible Study: “Have you noticed a spider’s web in the eaves of a house after the rain… how it sparkles in the sunlight?… Did you pluck a strand of the web?… The whole web shrank, right?  Well,” said Beatriz, “when you touch the web of the world’s life to break it, the whole web shrinks.”

Can we add… When you touch the web of the world’s life to heal it, the whole web is made stronger?  If only we can bring that healing touch.

St. Paul admits he is incapable of doing the good that he knows is needed, but he trusts (Romans 7) God will help. That conviction allows him to affirm that God – in spite of our shortcomings – entrusts the Church with the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5), for where anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation!

Stewardship is about the new creation in Christ, who we are or can be in God and what our purpose is as a Christian community.

It is vital for the earth’s future that the Church emerge strong from this pandemic, ready to work for God’s Kingdom here, for there is much to do.

If we are convinced, like Paul, that, when the Church turns to God for strength, God empowers her to bear witness to Christ in the world…

If we are sure that we are called to renounce and resist the powers of darkness and evil… If we know that God trusts the Church with the work of reconciliation…

We will confidently invest in our Church and in its future; and, we will bear witness to Christ not only with our lips but in our lives.

Onward, Friends!

Ven. Graham Bland is the chair of Huron Stewardship Committee.