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Mother in South Sudan holds and smiles at her infant child.

Building Back with Justice: Chapter 3

A new thing

‘I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.’

- Isaiah 43:19.

Love builds hope

Even in the most difficult moments, love gives hope. Love has compelled us to work together to support the most vulnerable, locally and globally.

People all over the UK continue to call the isolated, pack food for the vulnerable and sew masks for public health workers. In India the 45,000 strong ‘Caremongers India’ Facebook group has helped connect volunteers with the people who most need their help.

And in Brazil, Christian Aid partner Sempreviva Organizacao Feminista is supporting women to keep their small businesses operating.

These examples highlight a deep desire to love our neighbours and care for the vulnerable.

The power of connection

Amidst the chaos, many are rediscovering our connection with God, nature and those around us.

In the UK, community WhatsApp groups sprung up, zoom quizzes became a norm and people found new ways to connect with friends and family.  Our interconnectedness and our need for one another has never been clearer.

Alongside this, digital prayer spaces sprung up and churches have moved services online as we’ve re-affirmed our need to connect with God, people and nature. We have spent more time outdoors, in rivers, parks, and woodlands, experiencing nature in new ways, which may lead us to a more harmonious relationship.

Globally, the rapid spread of the disease has demonstrated how the health and well-being of just one of us has implications for us all.

We are rediscovering our deep connection with God, each other and the whole of creation.

Renewing the earth

We are also glimpsing the benefits of living in increasing harmony with God’s creation. In European cities birdsong became louder, we were breathing cleaner air and realising just how important getting outdoors is for our well-being.

Whilst the reduction in carbon emissions is nowhere near enough to save us from the climate crisis, we are seeing how things could be different. In small ways governments are acting, with major cities already being reshaped to encourage more cycling and walking.

There is potential for a different way of life emerging.

Polls show that this new way of life is largely supported by the British public, with 60% of people wanting the UK Government to prioritise health and wellbeing over the economy, even after pandemic.

And 58% of British people declaring that they want a green economic recovery.

Since 2008 the renewable energy sector generated jobs at over three times the rate of the fossil fuels sector and green energy has become less expensive.

A green recovery is possible – with political will.

New activism

The Black Lives Matter protests have shone a light on the racial inequality in our societies and reminded us all that when it comes to climate change, crippling debt or lack of healthcare provision, black and brown people are consistently left at the bottom of the pile.

Activism has also adapted to the new realities. The ‘school strikes for climate’ movement has gone online with the hashtag #DigitalStrike and thousands of people joined the climate coalition’s zoom-based lobby of the UK Parliament in June.

New forms of activism will need to continue to push for a more just world.

Crises, shocks to systems and upheavals to our normal way of life, can sometimes be a catalyst for great things. The NHS was born from the aftermath of World War Two. The coronavirus pandemic may prove to be the event that lays bare our broken world and gives us the renewed push to seek and bring the Kingdom of God on earth as in heaven.

We have a chance to participate in God’s action plan for the world. To do so requires us to actively pursue peace and justice.

We invite you to use Christian Aid’s discussion guide to help you discern your role in building back – with love and justice at the heart of all we do.

Campaign resources

Download our campaign briefing and discussion guide to explore what a just recovery from coronavirus looks like. We have written these to be used with your church community or small group: