Editor’s note: This column is another of several EthicsDaily.com will carry from an initiative from Great Britain called “Beyond400.net – Baptists Imagining Life After 400 Years.”
“Que Sera, Sera.” This is a popular and attractive philosophy. It demands nothing, expects nothing and changes nothing. It is a sentiment detached from our involvement and influence. It is beyond us.
I’m way too young to remember Doris Day, who first uttered these words in her song (I was born when Sly and the Family Stone did a cover version of it in 1973), but I am only too aware of how “Que Sera, Sera” is sung in the heart of every soccer fan who dreams of the journey toward Wembley (I’ve only followed the dream once with my team.)
My main beef with this phrase is the hopelessness and resignation that the future is outside of our influence and the utter disregard for the resurrection.
St. Paul was frustrated by this kind of worldview too when he quoted those who did not believe in resurrection by saying “Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die.”
In our theology, we perhaps tread too closely to “Que Sera, Sera.” We may be tempted to hide behind the high view of God’s sovereignty but at the risk of a low view of our humanity.
There is liberation in this of course – God is in control so let’s not freak out. God loves his church and it will last. The gates of hell shall not prevail. God has it all worked out.
This view is dangerous. It may present itself as honorable but it ends up with a lukewarm attitude to the character and identity of the church and therefore a disconnect to the relevance of the church in the world.
Beyond 400 is an opportunity to do away with “Que Sera, Sera” and embrace the potential for people of the Way to reorder themselves once again.
The prophetic characteristic of the church is a community being healed; we not only share the gospel but we share our lives as well of the message that we live and move and have our being in the healing creative hands of God.
We are dependent on him for our restored identity. We are found in Christ. We are loved in to life and we are freed toward a new reality found in the presence of God.
This is a message that we share with a world that is waiting to be healed. The late missiologist David Bosch described the church as both Divine and Dusty – an excellent way of saying let’s be humble and hopeful.
Humble in our brokenness but hopeful in our participation with God for our future.
In my role as team leader of the BMS International Mission Centre, I am involved in the formation of missionaries to be sent to various places around the world.
One area we explore together is the question of motivation. Part of developing a missional spirituality is the integrity of our motivation to share the gospel. Why are we doing what we’re doing?
One response that encourages me comes from John 17:3 where Jesus says, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
I love this. We are a people on the move to bring people in to eternity today.
Yes, we’ve all been part of the debate about heaven and hell, where is it, what is it, who is in it but don’t worry too much about tomorrow (sounds like “Que Sera, Sera” or Matthew 6 – choose your worldview) instead be passionate and urgent about sharing Jesus today. It’s the start of eternity.
Whether the church is in divine or dusty mode, nothing is more pressing, urgent or exciting.
For my friends at the soccer and cricket club, or members of my family or people I have got to know through the local school, sharing the life of Jesus is surely the primary characteristic of what it means to be church.
The late Oscar Romero used a prayer and quoted the phrase “We are prophets of a future not our own.”
There is truth in this. It keeps us humble but at the same time motivates us to shape the future with resurrection hope.
I am hopeful that good can come out of the challenges we face – financially, structurally, corporately and spiritually.
I am hopeful that the voices in this conversation can collectively move toward a passionate, thoughtful theology that is courageous, creative and open to change.
Ekklesia means “the ones who are called out,” so let’s do just that and kick in to touch any notion of “Que Sera, Sera.”
Mat Wilson lived and worked in Tirana, Albania, involved in church planting and community development through prison ministry. Matt is now the team leader of BMS International Mission Centre in Birmingham. This column first appeared on “Beyond400.net – Baptists Imagining Life After 400 Years.”