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”HOW LONG...?“
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By The Christian Churches Network of London

There is a line in C.S. Lewis' classic Narnia children's series, "They say Aslan is on the move—perhaps he has already landed. ....... At the name of Aslan, each one of the children felt something jump in its inside."

In these books, the lion "Aslan" was an allegorical representation of God. Today, our God is on the move, advancing His Kingdom here in London in ways that we do not always notice or understand. That is not only good news, that's the best news!

The culture all around us craves some good news right now, for good reasons. In the spring, John Krasinski was a Youtube sensation with his weekly podcast of "Some Good News". He started by highlighting essential workers and it just grew. CBC's "The National" news program ends each nightly broadcast with a heart warming good news story of individual Canadians making a difference in their communities. We appreciate these reminders, in light of daily catastrophic news stories of pandemic spreads in some areas, random odd weather systems, racial inequities unresolved, uncertainties about jobs and economic outlooks, even giant Asian hornets...the list can seem endless.

We want to share some local London good news of God at work. This month, let's shape our prayers into grateful words of abundant praise to our God for glimpses of His goodness, His kindnesses, His justice, His salvation and His truth that we can discover if we go looking - a Kingdom treasure hunt! We need to seek out these precious reminders of hope. How we wish we could gather up ALL of your good news stories of God at work in our community to tell you about. Hope you too can find and share many more with one another. Or share them with us at!

God we join together to praise you for what you are doing here in our community:
  • Thank you God for the remarkable generosity of people. It seems that many faithful givers are continuing to be really faithful givers, despite the present circumstances, as much as they are able. Through them, you have provided for many needs in ministries, in churches and in our community. For all charities, it has meant finding new ways to reduce expenses, or alter 'hoped for' plans. For some, your abundance has allowed them to share even more generously with others. We know you are not surprised by this, God. We loved the recent story of how INDWELL held an online gala in June and were happily shocked that they raised almost twice as much as they hoped, allowing them to move forward on more affordable housing projects. Praise to you God! Like a loving parent, we realize it brings you great joy when we, your children, share well with one another. For some churches/ministries, the pandemic has dealt some devastating blows. May we become aware of these needs. There may be new challenges in the future, but we place our trust in you for the present - our days and our resources are in your hands. Keep nudging and provoking us to give, God.
  • Some have shared encouraging stories of personal opportunities during these isolated times to mentor or disciple others, helping them to grow more in love with you, Jesus, wherever they are in their spiritual journeys. We praise you God for these faithful people - what good examples! Whether it is through zoom, emails, phone calls, or socially distanced walks....vital conversations are continuing about who you are, what you do, and how great your love is for us. We asked a couple to share what it means to them: "My mentor and I meet once a week on Facetime and I come with so many questions. We laugh, we talk, we pray and we look at the bible together. Pretty thankful for this consistency in my life when I am alone. Helps me feel God's presence." "I really look forward to our "walk & talk" every couple of weeks when we can pray together and explore my thousands of faith questions. It has been wonderful as a fairly new Christian to have someone walk with me not just physically, but spiritually." May this kind of private ministry thrive.
  • God, remind us that when we speak of the gospel, the "good news", that it needs to be good news for all - not just for us. It needs to be good news for those without shelter, those impoverished, those oppressed, those who are broken-hearted. How encouraging to see Christians and many others in London stepping into gaps to seek justice. Especially now, in times of isolation, economic hardship, restrictions of resources - O God, make our hearts more tender for what breaks your heart in our city.
  • Churches in our city of all sizes and types are full of many enthusiastic individuals eager to provide help for those in need by donating to the London Food Bank, providing mountains of homemade muffins, and cookies (pandemic baking!) for ministries like Sanctuary London, My Sisters Place, Ark Aid, Mission Services and more. Some are providing cases of sports drinks, freezies, and water bottles, especially needed in the recent heat wave.

    A number of downtown churches are partnering together to prepare a variety of takeout meals to help, when regular meal programs cannot take place due to COVID.

    YFC London is preparing 750 meals a week in their cafe, actually delivering them to vulnerable youth & families, together with other community agencies, chefs, and such willing volunteer drivers. This has been made possible for those at greatest risk, thanks to the great generosity of community corporate donors, businesses, and food suppliers....working together at being the heart and hands of Jesus, bringing good news in very practical ways. Many churches are taking meals to seniors, helping pick up groceries, or enhancing their food programs to meet current challenges, showing much love all around.

    Salvation Army has both a water truck around the city ensuring that people on the street are hydrated and their daily parking lot food truck, staffed by amazing volunteer teams from 21 churches and some local businesses. Listen to this observation: "It's wonderful to see their joy and just how quickly comfortable they (the volunteers) become engaged in welcoming all of our “guests” to the supper table." What a beautiful Kingdom photograph! Bless all those, please God, who demonstrate such care. And even more, pour out your blessings on those who are being cared for - all valued citizens of London.
    • Your great creativity, God, is now being expressed in online worship services for all to see. Thank you for so many gifted people who are sharing their musical, visual, and technology skills to engage us in worship of you, even while we sit at our kitchen table, on our decks with a coffee, or cozied up in a chair. A number of churches are noticing that their "congregations" have grown online, not diminished. All of us are being challenged to break out of the patterns of the past to utilize new ways to express our love to you. One elderly friend delightfully confessed she actually danced to the music in her living room while listening to her church's service online - she had never done that before!! Thank you too God, for all the children and youth ministry leaders who are creating meaningful learning experiences weekly for children. It may be creating online visual stories, or delivering activity boxes during the week to families - such wonderful ideas to share the good news of Jesus. May you encourage these workers and use these expressions of your creative spirit in the lives of our kids and families.
    • Many have also commented that they are rediscovering the joy of next door neighbours. Your words, Jesus, to "love our neighbour as ourselves" are taking on deeper meanings. Hear these voices: "I've learned more about my neighbours in the last three months than I have in the last five years." "God has challenged me to care more deeply for the people next door to us during this COVID lockdown - we are having great open conversations about family, faith, fear and just the dailies. I was too busy before, caught up in my own life. "My neighbours have been a real blessing to me." God, may these actions bring joy to your heart and we ask you to help these relationships to keep growing.
    • As churches are figuring out when & how to open up again, we thank you God for the careful consideration being demonstrated for "the other". Each has its own benefits and challenges, and such thoughtful discussions are taking place, figuring out how to worship and engage in community together safely and joyfully again. We confess that we may whine and complain a bit, God, that "it is not the way it used to be" - forgive us for that - and speak to us in our 'discomforting'. It can be a healthy mental wellness practice from time to time to make a list of all the things we are grateful for (the Bible is full of lists) :
      1. Remind us that Jesus said " where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” Whether it is ten or twenty, fifty or three hundred, we invite you to be alive and in the midst of us, God, however and whenever and wherever we join together.
      2. We thank you for diligent leaders - pastors, elders, denominations, boards of directors - collective wisdom doing the best they can. These are difficult decisions.
      3. We thank you for good advisors in our communities - health units, doctors, governments - all trying to do the best they can given what they know now and anxious about what they don't know yet.
      4. Help us remember God, that throughout history, there have been many more difficult circumstances that these we currently face, and your church has not only survived but thrived.
      5. Thanks for positive ways we have been able to use technology at this point in history to stay connected with one another. Who knew social media and Youtube could be good things?
      6. Please add your own thanks now - fill in the blanks __________________!

    To quote N.T. Wright "The good news is that the living God is indeed establishing his kingdom on earth as in heaven, through the finished work of Jesus, and is inviting people of all sorts to share not only in the benefits of this kingdom but also in the work thorough which it will come to its ultimate completion. To grasp that good news fully, or rather be grasped by it, will mean being turned inside out by it, so that our self-centred prayers ( for help, for rescue, for forgiveness and for daily bread) will turn into a God -centred prayer kingdom to come in His way, not ours. His will be done."

    1 Thessalonians 1: 9-10 says "The word has gotten around. Your lives are echoing the Master’s Word, not only in the provinces but all over the place. The news of your faith in God is out. We don’t even have to say anything anymore—you’re the message!" May this be said of each of us as Christians in London.