~ Dr. Joshua Lorin, Principal
Crisis will either break us or push us into action. The choice is ours! We believe we have reached a point of no return in the way we live our lives and practice our faith in Jesus Christ. In spite of the many pandemics in history and lessons derived from them, we realize that we cannot be prepared enough to engage a global pandemic such as Covid-19. Despite overwhelming information through social medias and others, our current predicament and obscure future only deepens. We are experiencing lack of clarity and strategy to maneuver the crisis and hence deficit in the sense of direction. In such a time, what kind of testimony would Naga Christianity want to bear? Or put differently, how can the likeness of Christ be made visible through Naga Christianity? This crucial question must be answered, for our identity and future depends on it.
In addressing the question, the foundational issue that comes to mind is “translatable faith.” There is a need for us to distinctly understand that our faith in Jesus Christ must be translated to find relevancy in our rapid changing times. Stemming out of the teaching of the New Testament, Christian history exhibits that when faith confronts new culture and context, it morphs and makes itself relevant to the people of that time and space. The inherent ability to transform is “the reason” for thriving and flourishing Christianity. This testifies to the timeless truth of God and his Word. Conversely, in cases, the inability to meaningfully translate faith results in stagnation and demise. So now, in the midst of pandemic, do we quietly sit, hoping that the storm will pass over so that we can do church as it was in the past? Probably not! The Naga Church must open herself up for change. We need to learn to express our faith in the “new normal” and adapt to new forms of spiritual engagements and holistic ministries; thereby, converting our crisis into vibrant testimony of faith in Jesus Christ. It appears that Jesus Christ is waiting to powerfully manifest himself in and through the Naga Church. Are we willing to “open” ourselves for that to happen?
As a natural response to crisis, the tendency for self-preservation is evident, and our churches and community of faith are not immune to it. However, the radical call of the gospel exposes the toxicity of “self-preservation,” and mandates us to lose ourselves so that we can find our true identity, because if we don’t, all is lost (Matthew 16:25). Today, Jesus Christ is asking us to live out the true ideal of what the Church should be –a community called out, made separate and special by God to channel his consolation and healing to many people; a community open to embracing, supporting, and caring for others; a community defined by love which flows and not its four walls. Will the Naga Church seize the moment and translate its faith into a living hope? The choice is ours!
© 2021, Oriental Theological Seminary