During the season of Lent, as we prepare for Easter, we focus on Justice & Reconciliation because it is the example Jesus lives during His ministry on earth.
Throughout Jesus’ ministry, He focuses on the oppressed and the marginalized. Jesus intentionally sought to bridge gaps, to show solidarity, to demand justice and reconciliation.
In John 5, we read about Jesus going to Jerusalem for a Festival. Instead of heading into the city and going straight to the festival, he goes through one of the side gates, a gate used mainly for animals, not people, and definitely not used by those going to the festival. He intentionally goes through this gate to walk by Bethesda, a pool where ‘the blind, the lame, the paralyzed,’ those who are outcast by society as unclean and unworthy, hang out.
He sees a man who has been there for 38 years! Can you imagine lying beside a pool, beside where all the animals are kept, aka it really stinks and it’s pretty dirty, and you’ve been ignored for 38 years?
And then, someone finally recognizes his existence. Not only that, but Jesus talks to him, listens, and responds with healing. This man gets up and walks away. Jesus not only healed him externally by giving him the ability to walk, but also internally by showing him that he is seen, he is worthy, and he is loved. Showing him the opposite of what he has been shown for 38 years.
This is Jesus intentionally living Justice and Reconciliation. It sometimes looks like big public gestures, sometimes it looks like speaking truth to power, and sometimes it looks like just seeing people with dignity and respect, by giving them the chance to be heard, and by responding in love.
His example guides the work of The Salvation Army.
His example guides the way we view those around us.
His example guides the work we do every day.
Let’s intentionally approach our day with justice and reconciliation as we continue to be ‘The Hand of God, in the Heart of the City.’
We cannot merely pray to you, O God, to end war;
For we know that You have made the world in a way that people must find their own path to peace within themselves and with their neighbors.
We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end starvation;
For You have already given us the resources with which to feed the entire world, if we would only use them wisely.
We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to root out prejudice;
For You have already given us eyes with which to see the good in all people, if we would only use them rightly.
We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end despair;
For You have already given us the power to clear away slums and to give hope, if we would only use our power justly.
We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end disease;
For You have already given us great minds with which to search out cures and healing, if we would only use them constructively.
Therefore we pray to You instead, O God, for strength, determination and will power,
To do instead of just pray,
To become instead of merely to wish.
– By Jack Riemer, Adapted from Here