If we get down to the root of what we are equipping churches to do/act/be in their respective communities – we are asking them to respond to the inequity that is facing their neighbors. We are asking them to tackle systemic injustice head on and we are asking them to do so in partnership with us, because justice isn’t something that can be overturned independently. What if the same sickness that I felt for that young girl was felt on a persistent basis for the communities where we serve? The same injustices are happening there, but inequity has become the status-quo. It cannot continue.
James 1:27 is basically telling us that true religion is looking after the widows and orphans in their distress. Why? Is it because God shows favoritism to certain demographics/peoples? Perhaps. I’m guessing that it is because these two segments of society are often the recipients of systemic injustice or systemic inequity. If the collective society is going to leave these vulnerable people in the margins, then Jesus followers must be the first bring equity: to respond justly.
I’m reminded of the prophet Micah who is calling the nation of Israel to be the people God created/designed/wanted them to be. What does Micah say?: act justly, love mercifully and walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8).
Access to clean water and sanitation is a justice issue.
The ability for a single mother to provide an income for her family is a justice issue.
Hungry people being fed is a justice issue.
Security from the elements and from harm is a justice issue.
Education for children is a justice issue.
Access to God is a justice issue.
People have complexly simple needs – let us strive to equip churches to provide this access to meet these needs – not because we are nice, or generous or kind, but because we follow a God whose Kingdom is one of justice and He calls us to nothing less.
My prayer: May God give us the disposition, ability, patience and humility to love him, such that his justice for humanity is reflected in our love, time and attention to those in the margins. May God give us eyes to realize the true battles that face the global Church are not theological, but are rather a persistent and unfathomable injustice lived daily among our brothers and sisters in East Africa. May our actions be led by the spirit of God, in righteous pursuit of God-given justice for all.
Right now, Life in Abundance and our partner churches are serving to empower over 1,000 street children in Ethiopia and Kenya. Please join us in this battle.