Justice forms a cornerstone of Christianity. In an era where mistakenly our focus bores in on belief and worship, we have to work at reclaiming the expanded vision of Justice, a vision that calls us to draw compassionately alongside of suffering. For those unfamiliar with Christ’s words, allow these words from the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 25, to sink in …
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
These words are why, in this denomination, we see in Christ the embodiment of Justice. He not only spoke of it. He lived it incarnationally. And that is our call as well. It is one, if we choose to follow, that will not be easy because the paradigm becomes so shockingly altered. As Fr. Richard Rohr phrases it….
The only way that we become convinced of our own sense of power, dignity, and the power of God is by actually doing it—by crossing a line, a line that has a certain degree of nonsensicalness and unprovability to it—and that’s why we call it faith. In the crossing of that line, and acting in a new way, then and only then can we really believe what we say we believe in the first place. Lifestyle issues, like non-consumer living, non-violent actions, community building, service, and volunteerism, ask much more of us than mere belief systems ever do.