I was watching Sky news this morning to get abreast of the current situation when I noticed a quote from Boris Johnson stressing that "there really is such a thing as society" in a message released while he is self-isolating with the Corona virus. Apparently, and I quote, 'the prime minister chose to contradict his predecessor Margaret Thatcher's endorsement of pure individualism made in 1987 when she told a magazine: "There is no such thing as society."
This message from Boris comes in the wake of many retired NHS personel returning to help in hospitals and people generally respecting the social distancing rules now in place. These pieces of news have clearly induced a positive reaction in the PM and I agree that these are positive signs of a society working well and adapting to change.
But, humans beings are social in nature and thrive on mutual physical and intellectual interaction. Society in this sense will never simply fade away. So, perhaps what is essentially being reported here is the realization that people actually care about one another and our materialistic mindset is not so prevalent as first thought?
It is important to remember that we as the Church are part of a 'kingdom that will never be destroyed, and that will not be left for another people; it will itself endure for ever.' (Dan 2:44). We are part of this society of faith that has Jesus and the caring values of a godly community at its centre, and we will continue to be a living hope to those in the wider society who have not yet found life in Christ and desperately need to know His love.
The early church understood this commission from the outset. And they knew that without the Holy Spirit's power and guidance they would be just another club or faction. Tozer says, 'they counted on the power of the Spirit to see them through all the way. They geared their activities to Christ; the notion that they should set up a "programmed" affair and use Jesus as a kind of sponsor never so much entered their heads. To them Christ was everything'. (Tozer, The Root of the Righteous, 1955).
As we look to serve the society around us in various ways, whether through voluteering, communicating or praying, let's remember we do it for Christ and for his glory; we rely on His Spirit and ask for His help. We want to make Jesus known.