July 2, 2023
Today we spend some time on the final approach “Being With”. And just so it is all in one place here are the 4 approaches that Dr Sam Wells speaks about.
WORKING FOR – “where I do things and they make your life better.” This is about seeing people’s problems and using our resources to try to solve them to make people’s lives better: charity.
WORKING WITH – “gains energy from problem-solving, identifying targets, overcoming obstacles.” This is about energetic collaboration across organisation to address issues of disadvantage or injustice: partnership.
BEING FOR – is “concerned with getting the ideas right, using the right language, having the right attitudes.” This is about big ideas, public awareness, public action: advocacy
BEING WITH -“believes one can seldom solve people’s problems – doing so disempowers them and reinforces their low social standing.” This is about enjoying and celebrating who people are and journeying with them in life: presence
Over the past few weeks we’ve spent time in each of these approaches, but we’ve also seen how they can and do overlap as well as the idea of “being with” as the foundation of them all.
As I looked for a reading this week I just couldn’t go past the opening verses of the Gospel of John. Here John describes just what incarnation is – the coming of God to be with us in the person of Jesus Christ. I think it is important that the meaning of incarnation literally means “God with us”. This is what we celebrate at Christmas, this is what we celebrate during the ministry years of Jesus and this is what we celebrate at Easter.
A constant plea that comes in our prayers is for God/Jesus to be with us, or those we know, those who are sick, or in situations where God’s presence is needed. It is “being with” that is such an important part of our lives and of God journeying with us through all that we do and experience.
I encourage you to read John 1:1-18 with ears and eyes that search for the being with us of God. As we are servants of God and followers of Christ, how can we be with those around us in this family of God, with those around us in the community outside our doors, and those around us in the broader creation that is everyday living?