(The following was prepared for the CityReach Europe email distribution, April 2020)
As we rang in the year 2020, many of us had great anticipation that this new decade would bring great opportunities for movement. But within in the space of 90 days, we came to realize that it wasn’t the kind of movement we had hoped for. A previously unknown virus began in a city in China, spreading rapidly into other parts of East Asia. From there it leaped into places like Italy, Iran, the US, and eventually every part of the world. Life as we knew it changed overnight. Our plans were shattered. Our schedules were rearranged. Our freedom was compromised. In record time, we found ourselves prisoners in our own homes with hopes of avoiding this invisible enemy.
Coronavirus COVID-19 is an infectious and highly contagious agent that spreads from person to person. This unwelcome intruder has wreaked havoc, leaving fear, illness, and death in its wake. At this moment in time, it is grounding planes, shutting down factories, creating massive unemployment, and crashing the economy. The death toll continues to rise, and the end is nowhere in sight. We are experiencing a global leadership challenge unlike any other since the Second World War.
Now dear friends, think about yet another viral agent. Consider that it could spread and quickly and broadly as COVID-19. Imagine it leaping from person to person with ease and following the pathways of jet planes to faraway places. But instead of bringing the stench of death, it would bring life and hope. Instead of fear, it would bring joy. Instead of confinement, it would bring freedom.
Indeed, this is the gospel of Jesus, and we are all carriers of this life-transforming agent. It was never meant to be imprisoned in buildings or held tightly between fearful lips, but to flow freely and contagiously. Let us go forth into all the world, using every means we can, to share broadly and generously this great and glorious news that can change the world.