2020 – 2022

A Two year Window

In the past days I have been on a few Zoom calls and some of what I see for the next season has been pulled on. I thought it might be of some value to put it down here, some of which in bits and pieces I have shared before. It needs of course to be weighed and if there is a projection on my part of expectations those will colour what I write. Prayer and revelation is not here to give us what we expect but what we need to enable participate in any forward God movement. Finally any sight has to be supplemented by sight from others.

In the first few days of January it became clear to us that 2020 was not going to be a year that could be planned out. It would be a disrupted year, the important part was that we could not plan as per normal but would have to respond as the disruptions occurred. For many this has been a painful year and I do not write in any way to diminish that experience; we weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. I acknowledge the diversity of experiences but also want to give a focus to push against the hope of those who are simply waiting for things to return to normal. God makes everything beautiful in its time and we have to discover what it is that God is beautifying.

It is fairly self-evident that there is a RESET taking place. The concept of a reboot is vital for many sectors, and the use now of the term ‘essential workers’ has been a redemptive and perceptive phrase. I suspect it will soon disappear from the active vocabulary as a measure of recovery comes. Crisis has value if we change… if not!!

There will be a bouncing back… it is OK to go with it to a measure, but the focus has to remain on the reset. However as the bouncing back is heralded (2021?) we should not get carried away. The reset has to go much deeper that a temporary change (everything online) and then back to a thank God here comes the normal!

For those who are seeking to find what God has in this season, as opposed to waiting for this season to end, it is not so much a reboot but a reset. The vision might need to be tweaked but the vision is the vision. A refocus might be required, but it is essentially about resetting. As in many sports there comes a point that the team needs to be reset in order to achieve the desired outcome. Perhaps the format of the team, or new plays need to be introduced. We are now in a period of reset and even when a measure of recovery comes, even if we might be able to go with it to some extent, the important element remains that the reset needs to be completed.

There is a 2 year window to push through this reset, ideally if it can be done in 18 months the better. In 2022 – I do not suspect at the beginning – I see global elements of crises appearing that will bust open the cracks. COVID-19 is serious but is also a sign of what is to come, and is signalling to us now that there is a period of time in which we can get ready for this.

The reset is to check alignments. There are alignments from the past season that will quickly prove to be energy sapping for the next. An important element to avoid in this season is filling all the space. There are also alignments that have become loose that need tightening up. However, we approach it the issue of ALIGNMENTS is key in this reset.

Also get ready to change direction. There will likely be for a number of people the sudden openness of new outlets that they have skirted around the edges of before. They will come with a fresh angle / approach and then open up.

The favour of God is going to be with those who are not giving themselves to protect the structures / institutions but invest in the people. This might well mean embracing what might seem a smaller influence, but invest small and deep and there will both be longer lasting results and also protection into the phase that opens in 2022.

At the same time God is at work not simply with ‘me / us’. We are not at the centre. We can flow with what God is doing, but the future is not being shaped for us as individuals. So I suggest that there are people now who are being loosened up from their former concepts that only got them thus far. The loosening will mean fresh sight to those people and also fresh space for new connections. There are many hubs being shaped at this time… a hidden few here and a hidden few there.

The lockdown preceding…

‘Saturday’ is a little imposed on the biblical narrative, as is Sunday (resurrection) morning with the day beginning and ending differently than in our Western setups, yet I hope the language is understood. There is considerable debate as to what happened between death and resurrection – did he visit ‘hell’ to preach and to whom? What we do know is that burial was an important part of the Gospel proclamation.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3,4).

The inbetween time waiting for God to act marks this time. On the third day raised:

who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 1:4).

The resurrection inaugurated a whole new beginning, both setting the whole of creation back on track, and on a new track to the future. Nothing can be compared to that. The birth of a whole new world… and yet that new world still awaits the future, but along the way there are birth pangs that point to her arrival, and there is always a call for the people who have received the firstfruits of that era to both be signposts to that future and guides along the way.

It would be shallow to compare the lockdown that many are experiencing globally to the ‘inbetween day’ of Easter, so I will not go there. I simply want to suggest that the ultimate pattern of Easter is the source of our hope.

  • There is a before and an after. The after is not a return to what was before. Continuity is there – the same Jesus who went into the grave, is the Jesus who came out. But by the resurrection he becomes a ‘life-giving Spirit’.
  • Resurrection is an act of God, not an act of human will. To restore back something back to where it was might be possible through human will, but to lift it to a new level of life is beyond our ability. In Hong Kong there is some graffiti that reads: “There can be no return to normal because normal was the problem in the first place.” (‘Normal’ and whether it is a problem depends so much on where one stands in the pecking order of benefits!)
  • Henry Kissinger (former US secretary of state under Richard Nixon) has said that rulers must prepare now to transition to a post-coronavirus world order. We might not be rulers (as if!!) but as believers we are to herald a new day, indeed Paul suggests that our sight has to be of a ‘whole new creation’ and therefore our whole sight is different.

We will ride the storm of the coronavirus. There will be inevitable flare ups in the autumn / Fall season, but generally the globe will survive and the virus can be spoken of as a past event, but… this shutdown is not limited to a Saturday nor to the early/mid months of 2020. And let me change the language of ‘shutdown’ for a mo – this time of preparation, of ‘re-set’. We have just over 2 years of ‘re-set’. For I consider a far greater crisis will be here in 2022, not a virus but a combination of events / circumstances that together will present our world with a crisis of significant proportions.

There are three words interlocked in Scripture:

  • Glory
  • Suffering and the middle word
  • Time

The path (time) to glory is pain! How we respond en route is the challenge. The resurrection is the demonstration that Jesus was indeed faithful to the path and vision.

We are embarking on a pathway, one we have not walked on before, or not at this level of intensity and focus. The next two years for some will be ‘returned to normal’ and with a big ‘thank God’… for others it will be ‘cannot settle back to what has been called normal’, waiting and listening.

The reset is both a ‘reboot’ for the systems that have become totally locked up, a reset that at times our computers and devices need when the operating system cannot handle what has been loaded on to them… and a reset, being set again in the position where the Lord has for us, set with values from heaven.

I hear the sound of the silence contained in that phrase ‘and was buried’.

A post from Oct 2018

I looked back tonight to find a post from 2018 where I reflect on a coming crisis. Here is the post that can be clicked on.

Here are a few excerpts from that post:

I have been very exercised about some of the significant global crises that are on the horizon. For the past 3 weeks I have been seeing a very serious economic upheaval. Then a few days ago the global climate report was published with the ‘we have twelve years to address this’.

The façades are opening. It is not simply that we will be able to see the bizarre nature of the Western economic system that only operates if there is debt (debt will always result somewhere in slavery and at some measure an inevitable eating tomorrow’s bread today) or the paucity of public political debate but we will be able to see some very deep roots… unless we close our eyes to what is being revealed. The familiar can close the façades down, although I wonder if we (believers) will even be able to do that this time round. And beyond the familiar there are factors that hamper our sight. Those will be found in our commitment to a shallow Gospel that does not challenge nationalism, patriotism, patriarchy and the deep inequalities in society. If we do not heed at this time that the Gospel is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, nor male and female we will find our eyes will not even see what is before us and we will simply look for ‘normal’ to be restored.

What is being exposed in the days that lie ahead (and I am sure much more can be added to this) are:

  • greed and consumerism
  • misogyny
  • protectionism that demonises the ‘other’

I suggest we have the next two years, when either a level playing field will be established or we will leave the next generation a Herculean task to bring things forward to something that resembles a God shape for society.