Justice = Holding Each Other Up

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I’ve had a difficult month.

I lost my apartment in a fire and it has been tough.

Tough to think about anything else. Tough to start again. . .again.

But there has been this amazing group of people who have held me up. They have held me when I felt like I was losing my feet. Like a cartoon character fall, feet flailing. But not falling. Thank God. Just losing my feet for a bit. Because my arms are held tightly, I’m not going down. And I’m thankful.

Holding each other up. That’s what I keep thinking about. Maybe it’s just that simple. Maybe that’s what Jesus meant when he talked about loving your neighbour as yourself. Love the Lord your God, who holds you up, and hold each other up. The whole law is summarized there. Just hold each other up. You don’t want to fall, so don’t let your neighbours fall. Who is your neighbour? Well, let me tell you a story.

I watched a whole community of Christians join together to hold up a refugee family. It was a small town and one church couldn’t do it alone. So they all worked together. They all grabbed arms and got ready for a family to arrive from Syria. The family that came was sad. Incomplete. And hurting. They didn’t want to be in Canada. They wanted to be in Syria, with their loved ones, without the bombs. And they came, legs flailing. New language, new culture, new food, with the grief of years of loss and pain and fear wearing them down. And that community tried, as best they could, to hold them up. That Syrian family had lost the ground under them. But still they were held up. 

We won’t overlook you, ignore you, or forget you. We won’t let you fall. We won’t let others pull you down.

I wonder about holding each other up. It’s not about saying there is ground when there isn’t. It’s not about staying up and patting those that are down on the head with charity. It’s about saying: We’re in this together. We’ve got you. We won’t overlook you, ignore you, or forget you. We won’t let you fall. We won’t let others pull you down. We’ll get that ground underneath you again.

Maybe “doing justice” seems a daunting task. But we get what it feels like to hold each other up, and to be held up. To be at equal height and equal opportunity. For me justice is holding up everyone within arms length, regardless of skin color, nation of origin, sexual orientation, age, or gender. It means holding up those for whom the ground has been pulled out from under them.

And honestly, who hasn’t needed that?

This post originally appeared on Do Justice, a blog run by the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue and the Office of Social Justice. 

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