A Different Sort of
We aren’t the first generation of the church to face an unprecedented crossroad in our life together. We are definitely not in the middle of your run of the mill social change that happens with fair regularity. These sorts of change can often be addressed with vigilance and some tinkering with and adjusting some of our standard practices. The learning curve on these is pretty gentle. This is most assuredly not the same circumstance. The danger of this disease must lead us to a fundamental reconsideration of our life together for the foreseeable future. The challenge is that knowing how to navigate this time will require us to learn new responses, new technology and even a transformed theology. This is a tall order; but remember, we are not the first generation required to find our way through such a change. We can learn a lot from how previous generations have walked their path.
Biblical Standard of Justice
The prophet Amos called out for “justice to flow down like mighty waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” This poetic vision reveals an important truth. Righteousness and Justice, in the prophet’s eye are inextricably linked. Justice isn’t possible without Righteousness; and Righteousness will bring Justice. Some basic definitions are in order. The core of our relationship with God and the faithful living that comes as a consequence calls us to be aligned with God. That is in thought, word and deed every aspect of our life is a commitment to and reflection of God’s purpose in the world. As seen through Jesus, this purpose is revealed in a life of healing, wholeness, transformation and inclusion. Jesus went to the margins to bring the good news of God’s grace to those who had been cast off by the rich and powerful. We can’t realize the beloved community (a radically inclusive community) unless all of humanity has a seat at the table. Working for Justice is not merely a legal/criminal matter. It celebrates our common humanity and God’s regard for all.
Check Your Privilege at the Door
The Apostle Paul, when he was teaching the Philippian church about humility, writes “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus. Though he was in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant.” Jesus, as the Son of God, the very heart of God made flesh, gave up his privilege in order to reach out and care for a humanity that was separated from God. This was a bold move of self-giving love that opened a door for us to follow. If we would claim to be a disciple (a learner/follower) of Jesus, we must follow that path. We must check our privilege at the door. This is the only way to understand the common humanity we hold. This Sunday we will wrestle with the Great Commission (taking this witness to the world) recorded in Matthew 28:16-20 as it relates to the overarching call to work for wholeness, Shalom and Peace.