Let justice roll down …!
We felt that it was important for those who support us and pray for us to understand the tougher side of our agenda for ministry. Not only are we called to compassion and kindness, but our love also needs to be expressed in actions for justice. The prophets consistently called for worship that will translate into justice, for systemic change and for social transformation.
It is not enough to assume that personal conversion will lead to social change. We have to be more intentional as churches to nurture a holistic spirituality that will go beyond personal conversion and piety, to interpersonal reconciliation, and social justice. Our discipleship process should help Christians to contextualise and apply their faith into the realities of everyday life in our communities, at the work place, in board rooms and on the streets. If we do not educate the church to help shape public policy, to transfer values, to impact decision-making processes, and to nurture a responsible and caring culture, our faith has become rather sterile.
Today there is death in our streets.
• When a street vendor gets killed at the bus station because it is the only way he knows how to earn a living, there is death in our midst.
• If an eight year old is sold by family members as a sex slave there is death in our midst.
• If men with big cars drive around at night to pick up 14 year old boys for sex there is death on our streets.
• If air-conditioned buildings stand empty in the city while homeless people die of exposure in winter, there is death in our midst.
• If businesses and churches disinvest from the inner city, banks withdraw and estate agents exploit inner city residents, it contributes to death in our city.
• If the media proclaims stereotypes about the inner city from their front pages, they announce death in our city.
God calls his people to respond to death and injustices in the opposite spirit by erecting signs of life and justice.
“Let justice roll down like streams of living water …!”
This remains our challenge. To announce and to demonstrate God’s love and justice in practical ways…what does it imply for the church in the city?
We ought to stand against the abuse of women and children; fight the harassment of innocent and vulnerable people; ensure decent, affordable housing for the inner city poor, close to job opportunities; fight inner city slum formation, absentee landlords and abandonment; affirm homelessness as a central issue of concern; build democratic community structures that will inform public policy and decision-making.
People in the city need a bold and practical demonstration that God cares and that God’s love is real. The Good News must be fleshed out in situations of deal and despair; turning bad buildings around and supporting people to turn around from their self-destructive ways.