Sunday Justice

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Sundays are about justice, not just us. That's something hard to say and harder to swallow at times. Often times Christians look to Sundays as a day of rest. And that's good. It should be a day of rest. But Christians also look to Sundays as a day to be fed, a day to be given, a day to consume rather than a day to give, a day to feed, a day to grow, and a day to act justly and love mercy and walk humbly with God (this is a run on sentence, I know). Sunday isn't about just us, it's about justice as well. 

God spoke to His people from the very beginning about being a blessing to others. He said to Abraham in Genesis 12 that he is blessed to be a blessing. Later, God spoke to His people after He rescued them out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. He tells them how to live differently. How to live in such a way that they are so different that the rest of the world will know that God is the God of the nations and the universe. 

God tells them In Exodus 19 that they will be a nation of priests to the rest of the nations. Priests during this time period spoke to the people for God. They were the ones who tended to the poor, helped the weak, and led the people in worshiping God. 

Later, after the 10 Commandments are given to the people, at the base of Mt. Sinai, God instructs the people how to live differently. How to live in such a way that they act justly and love mercy and can walk humbly with Him. 

One such way of living differently is how the people of Israel treated foreigners:

"When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. They foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God." Leviticus 19:33-34

Sunday justice is about living differently. Being different amongst people all around us. 

The Apostle Peter writes

"You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9

As followers of Jesus, we are to live this out. We are to live out what it means to be a priesthood—a people who speak on God's behalf, who help the poor, who act justly and love mercy and walk humbly with our God. 

But are we?

Jesus spoke of his people living differently. In the parable about the Sheep and the Goats, he speaks about how when he was hungry he was fed, when he was thirsty he was given something to drink, when he was naked he was clothed, when he was sick he was looked after, when he was in prison he was visited. But the people want to know when they did all this. 

Jesus' answer is simple:

"Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40. 

Dude. 

Whoa.

Being a follower of Jesus isn't about just us.

Yes, Jesus is a personal savior. Yes, Jesus died for you, he died for me. But he also wants us to be different. Unique. That royal priesthood, that holy nation. Abraham was blessed to be a blessing by God. As followers of Jesus, we fall in that line with Abraham, we too are blessed to be a blessing. As with the people of Israel who were to live out a different life, we too are to do the same. 

This involves justice not just us. 

When we have a myopic view of things, we only focus on our wants and needs. As followers of Jesus, we are to see Jesus as not only our personal savior but also see how God is calling us to be different, to be unique. We are to do this in our own weird way using the gifts and abilities God has given us. 

In the Christian Reformed Church we have World Renew whom we can do justice through. The Office of Social Justice also gives suggestions on how to act justly and love mercy while walking humbly with our God. 

Dear fellow Christians, when you walk through the church doors this Sunday, don't just think about what you can get out of Sunday's service, think about what you can do for Jesus and his desire for us to be different and unique in this world. 

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 On Facebook this past week I have read about how civil servants working in American airports handcuffed a five-year-old boy because he was Muslim; separated a woman from her two children and detained her for about 48 hours without food or water ALSO because she was Muslim; and detained another woman for 20 hours ALSO without food or water and ALSO because she was a Muslim.  How do Americans who say they are Christians countenance such atrocities?  What does it do to your witness to your Mulsim neighbors, if you let your government get away with treating people who are seeking refuge like that just because they belong to a certain religion and come from certain countries that were not even the ones from which terrorists who attacked your country came from anyway?  Why didn't Republicans target Saudi Arabia, for example in their list of countries from which people are banned?  How do you think you will convince Muslims to even consider Christianity when people who claim to be Christians behave that way and enact such inhumane policies that go against our Lord's teachings and commandments?  Obviously, the people in power in Washington don't care about that, and if they say they do despite ample proof to the contrary, you can call them liars to their faces, but if you do care, what are you going to do about it?  As a Canadian I can sign petitions until the cows come home, but at the end of the day, it's your country and your government.  According to your political system, you are the ones who have to hold those politicians accountable for the laws they pass, especially when they're immoral.

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