Justice is a Verb
The idea of social justice, what it means, and the many forms it can take, is a complex one. These weeks we are spending together during Lent exploring the theme through studies and sermons is bringing us closer to an understanding of that complexity, what the bible says about it, and what injustice looks like in the world around us. At our recent Messy Church, we even dived into the theme through activities and talks, helping draw our young people closer to a better idea of social justice too. Awareness and understanding are good first steps towards establishing God’s kingdom on earth, built on the firm foundation of justice for all, but as we approach the end of Lent and our celebration of Easter, is it time to think about what happens next?
The phrase ‘love is a verb’ is often used when talking about sharing and showing God’s love in the world in relevant and practical ways – could this same concept also be applied to social justice? If Justice could also be a verb, what would those actions look like in our world and in our lives? How do we take our understanding of justice, and our awareness of injustice, and turn them into real, loving actions to change our world?
What can we do is a question we have already asked ourselves as a community at St Andrew’s. Social justice is deeply embedded in our mission and outreach, through working with our mission partners, becoming an Inclusive church, seeking Eco church status, using Fairtrade products, and always looking for more ways to practically demonstrate care for creation. These are commitments we have made together, each member of the Church family contributing to keeping social justice on our minds in all that we do.
Hearing about the many facets of social justice, and seeing all that is already being done can feel a little overwhelming, and the scale of injustices in the wider world can make it difficult to think about where to start making a difference as an individual. It is impossible to do it all, and yet throughout this process of understanding and discovery over Lent, many of us are feeling moved to do something to make real the just Kingdom of God on earth. So how do we begin?
This time of waiting and reflection over Lent is often marked with more time spent in prayer, speaking to and listening for God, spending time in God’s presence, and letting those moments flow into the business of our busy days. Can we begin now to use this time to ask not just for a deeper understanding of Justice, but also what we could do after this season of exploration to make change happen. Can we start by praying together:
Grant us a vision of your world as your love would have it:
a world where the weak are protected, and none go hungry or poor;
a world where the riches of creation are shared, and everyone can enjoy them;
a world where different races and cultures live in harmony and mutual respect;
a world where peace is built with justice, and justice is guided by love.
Give us the inspiration and courage to build it, and challenge us each day to listen for the prompting of your spirit in us to take action against injustices, however large or small, in our lives, in our community, and in the world.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
To learn more about how St Andrew’s is working for social justice:
To understand more of what the Church of England thinks about social justice: