Throughout Lent, we are reflecting on the radical message of Jesus and how this relates to the growing climate crisis. As part of World NGO Day Tim Baker, All We Can’s Churches and Volunteers Manager, discusses the role of NGO’s in God’s story.
In the beginning was the word…
It is a great start to a story – evocative, inviting, ambiguous, intriguing. I have so many questions for the writer of the Fourth Gospel – what do you mean ‘the word’? When was the ‘beginning’? How did you settle on this obscure image of logos, of ‘word’, as the way to start your Jesus story?
Since this first word, this beginning, this ‘logos’, God’s story has continued to unfold. God’s story is a story that grows and expands: as we read throughout the Bible, God is always interested in things that grow, that ‘go forth and multiply’, that create and recreate.
So, where is God’s story now?
Often, in the midst of our miserable news agenda, surrounded by anxieties about global warming, in the midst of a culture that seems to thrive on burn-out, overworking and work-related stress, and chronic decline in the traditional church institutions; looking through that lens, it is difficult to see God’s story.
Today, however, is World Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Day, and as it has been my privilege to work at All We Can, an NGO, for the last five years, I can promise you that God’s story is still unfolding. That story may not always look like we would wish it to, it may not always happen in established institutions, it might not always make front-page news but it is telling a counter-narrative to selfishness, self-ambition and self-loathing.
In fact, it is in the quiet, hyper-local, selfless, collaborative work of NGOs that this story has been most clearly shown to me. In the outrageous smile that breaks across the face of a widow in Uganda. In the immovable faith of an elderly gentleman in Zimbabwe. In the brave solidarity of a women’s self-support group in India.
God’s story begins with the word. It continues in whispered words and glimpses of hope in unexpected places. Are you listening for the whisper today?