Sunday 3 May is Vocations Sunday. Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Vocation, John Fitzmaurice has written this blog about the importance of continuing to explore vocation at this time.
There is little doubt that the current pandemic and our response to it, nationally and globally, will shape our society for years to come. Many of our assumptions, many of the things we took for granted, have been challenged at a profound level. The inequalities of our society have been laid bare, not least by the fact that poverty has been a determining factor in those who have died, as well as race. Largely hidden from our news media are the mass graves being dug in poorer countries where healthcare provision in minimal. Financially we have discovered that market capitalism can’t solve everything, indeed that it can’t solve our most pressing problems – it has no currency for the value of individual human lives, and perhaps one of the most interesting and challenging aspects of our current situation is watching decision makers balance the need to care for human life versus the damage it potentially does to our economy, and the livelihoods it supports.
What is clear is that our society will need to be rebuild on a different set of values when we emerge from this pandemic, and I would suggest that we could do worse than rebuild it around the kingdom values of Love, Compassion, Justice and Freedom. Of course we have seen the values, particularly those of love and compassion, in so many of the key workers who have been so critical in sustaining our common life as a society, not to mention the physical health of the seriously ill. It turns out, to some peoples’ surprise, that these are the values that sustain humanity when we have our backs against the wall. Going forward we will need people committed to such values who, in all areas of our society, will begin the process of rebuilding a society that is more loving, more compassionate, more just and which gives us the freedom to live our lives even more fully than we did before the pandemic.
The church too will need people of wisdom, holiness and integrity, who will help shape its post-pandemic life, not least in the face of the financial pressures we face, with a clear and confident focus on those kingdom values and resurrection life that is our goal. In a post-pandemic world and church, the need for people to confidently live out the Christian vocation, both lay and ordained, in the world and in the church, is as urgent as it has ever been.