06 Apr Not Home until Everyone is Home
Greetings from AsiaCMS and the Board of Trustees!
We see tears and pain around us at an unprecedented scale. Even as we face a global lockdown never seen before, churches and worship spaces having to close its doors, and an abrupt halt to all major life-sustaining activities, globally, we at AsiaCMS continue to be engaged in our efforts to be present and available at such a time as this.
Many of us are at home. While the positivity of being home cannot be denied, how can we stay locked in our homes when there are countless across the nations who are not yet home. The lockdowns implemented in many places were sudden and the message clear: Stay Put Where You Are. Some were already home by then but many were not. We are trying our best to be relevant to those who are “together on the road” trying against all odds to reach their homes, whilst fully aware of the risks involved and the daunting distance that lies ahead.
On one side, there are tourists stranded while on the other side, there is an overwhelming number of migrant labourers, the poor, disabled and marginalised communities who are stranded on the edges and have fallen through the crevices. There are diaspora communities viewed with suspicion, “guest” workers and nomads who are ostracized, people in the peripheries struggling for their basic needs, despite all noble efforts taken by the benevolent authorities.
We believe we are not home until everyone is home! We have a mission to do. As we respond to the realities around us at such a time as this, AsiaCMS would like to:
- Reassure our presence as salt and light. Our neighbours need us now more than ever and we need to continue to be the salt of the earth and light of the world. At this point, we affirm our solidarity and prayers with everyone across the globe. We are fully aware that we need each other much more than ever before to face the challenges ahead of us.
Many people have lost their lives and even more are isolated, and being treated. Our challenges are three-fold: to give assurances about the eternal home that awaits us to those who need it, to ensure that others are able to go back home to their loved ones, and to properly care for those who remain away from home.
The governments are trying their best. The health professionals are truly being angels on earth and all those engaged in mitigating this crisis deserve appreciation and prayers. Each of us in our individual capacities are also doing the best we can. AsiaCMS affirms our solidarity and prayers with each of you; we pray that the Lord shows us the pathways ahead.
The Way showing us the way, so that we can follow the Way. We want to also thank CMS-UK, every member of the CMS network and all people of God everywhere, who are standing with each other during this difficult time.
- Reschedule our programmes and reformulate our paradigms and priorities. We had made many plans for 2020 in a very different context, and the present scenario calls for a redefining of the way we conduct our lives and ensure our presence. Several of the meaningful programmes that we envisaged are being rescheduled.
We want to put the resources that are available to us to maximum use for the care of creation and to wipe the tears of our co-sojourners. We are revisiting and revising our missiological paradigms and priorities to make ourselves relevant to the present times. Your understanding and inputs in this regard is much appreciated.
We want to be there by the side those who need a supportive hand of encouragement, as we face the challenges ahead of us. We assure the presence of our whole team to walk alongside you during these tough times, even as you are present to the needs of all those around – best as we all possibly can.
- Re-envisage being a missional presence at such a time of this. Yes, we carry over two centuries of legacy and history, but the present crisis has made us rethink how to be the church and do the mission of God. We want to ensure that all our mission partners who are stranded in spaces away from homes are safe and well looked after.
Being in the frontiers of mission is challenging and even as you face those challenges, be assured that we are with you every step of the way; and more importantly, the Lord is with you more than any of us. This crisis will surely help us think that an alternate world is possible.
It should also help us think that an alternate church and an alternate missiological presence is possible. In all humility, we will be open to the promptings of the Spirit of God that will keep purging and purifying us from time to time, when we are willing to humble ourselves, repent, unlearn and learn afresh.
Scripture continues to assure us – “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you WHEREVER you go” (Joshua 1:9). As we go through a period of Lent and meditate on the Cross of Christ, we also know that Easter is coming; we celebrate the victory of LIFE over all forces of death. Even this shall pass away and we shall continue to rejoice in the Lord together with all those who are around us in this journey of LIFE.
Rev. Vinod Victor
Chairperson – Board of Trustees, AsiaCMS