I’ve been forced to think a lot about transitions recently. I’ve moved house three times in the last three months, graduated from university, moved to London having lived up North my whole life, and now I find myself starting my first “proper” job. Like most big changes, this has been both disorienting and hugely exciting, and I can’t wait to get stuck in to working with such an amazing team.
These recent changes in my life have prompted me to reflect on the spiritual transitions I have gone through, which have contributed to my passion for social justice and, ultimately, to arriving in this job.
Earlier in my life, my outlook primarily centred on my personal relationship with God and with those in my immediate vicinity, perhaps with the odd bit of charity thrown in for good measure. Steadily, through deeper engagement with the scriptures both in church and as part of my theology degree, and through greater political awareness, I realised how inherently privileged, and unbiblical, such a position is.
I recognised that my relationship with God compels me to consider how I relate to, and love, those beyond my personal bubble. Through actions both direct and indirect, intentional and unintentional, through what I do and what I fail to do.
I was also changed by a realisation that God’s Kingdom is built not only through more people professing Jesus as Lord, but by all levels of our society reflecting and transmitting the love God has for both creation as a whole and for every person within it.
I started to think about the structures which prevent the God-intended flourishing of all people, and began to see politics as the largest means we have to reflect God’s particular care for the marginalised in the way our society is run.
I saw that the mission of God is not only active within the Church, but outside it, whenever injustice is challenged. The image of my mother, a Methodist minister, handcuffing herself to railings to protest the benefit sanctions system, has ingrained this in my mind.
As I reflect on these past transitions, and navigate my current ones, I find myself looking ahead and considering the changes I want to see in future.
I want to see a transition to an economy which responsibly uses the earth’s recourses and puts people ahead of profit.
I want to see people in power caring first and foremost for the most disadvantaged and marginalised in our society.
I want to see an end to the hostile environment created for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, as well as the racism and nationalism which is both a cause and a symptom of it.
These, and so much more.
But above all, I want to see a church of faith-filled justice-seekers leading the way in the conversation, prophetically proposing alternatives to pervading inadequacies, not running to catch up while the conversation moves on.
I’m proud to be joining a team committed to all these things, and look forward to seeing what God has in store.