It’s already March. The snow is melting, the days are longer. Spring jackets are coming out and winter gear becomes less and less frequent. Does anyone else feel like this year is zooming by? Easter is just around the corner!
As we move into our third month of our ‘Missional Year at a Glace’, we direct our attention to the themes of Justice and Reconciliation. There are four key events that happen in March that have led to wanting to focus on these topics this month. First of all we have the world day of prayer; a day when the entire Christian world stops what it’s doing and prays to the God of all justice. It’s a day when we acknowledge our powerlessness to affect any change in this world without God with us. It’s a day when Christians all over the planet cry out to God in unity for a better world.
Secondly, today is ‘International Women’s Day’. Today, women from around the world are recognized for their contributions to their communities and society as a whole. But still today, in 2016, women are not treated as equals with men in many ways. And if that’s not a justice issue, I don’t know what is.
Thirdly, March is The Salvation Army’s ‘Partners in Mission’ focus, where we as an organization think about ministries in other parts of the world that we want to support. Money is collected from ministries and individuals and sent to places that don’t have the financial resources that we have here in Canada. The act of ‘self-denial’ becomes a focus, where we are asked to consider giving up something like coffee and donating the money we would normally spend on it to our partners in mission elsewhere. This practice perfectly aligns with the season of Lent.
This leads me to the fourth and final thing, Easter. This is our biggest day of the year; a day that reminds us that Jesus is alive and reigns as the King of Kings. We are also reminded that one day, hopefully sooner rather than later, there will be one final Easter when Jesus returns in bodily form to make everything that’s wrong with the world right once and for all. It’s a day when Justice and Reconciliation come to fruition. There will no more separation from family. No more homelessness. No more sickness, addiction, violence, fear. No more politics to divide rather than unify us.
And while we long for that day, we keep striving for justice and reconciliation in our little parts of the world and continuing to be ‘The Hand of God in the Heart of the City’.
Dion Oxford, Director of Mission Integration
God of compassion, You sent Jesus to proclaim a time of mercy reaching out to those who had no voice, releasing those trapped by their own shame, and welcoming those scorned by society.
Make us ambassadors of reconciliation. Open our ears that we may listen with respect and understanding. Touch our lips that we may speak
your words of peace and forgiveness. Warm our hearts that we may bring wholeness to the broken-hearted and dissolve the barriers of division.
Guide the work of your Church and renew us with the Spirit of your love. Help us and all people shape a world where all will have a place, where the flames of hatred are quenched, and where all can grow together as one.
Forgive, restore and strengthen us through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Prayer adapted from here