Many of us have family and friends who are connected with people living in countries where there is and has been significant unrest and social disorder in 2020, such as-
- United States of America and the protests against the killing of black people and especially George Floyd, a man who followed Christ and was trying to get his life turned around.
- Hong Kong and the injustice of the Chinese Government against the Hong Kong people
- India and the treatment of the migrant workers and Dalits
- South Africa and the government crisis
- Lebanon, Chile, etc… and other places we may know
Our hearts and prayers go out to all the people involved and caught up in these protests and especially the families of those who have died, been impacted by violence and have been displaced.
We may be wondering where we fit and what we think about it.
We may be in turmoil as to our response.
We may feel pressure from our friends and family and from our cultural background to look the other way and not get involved.
After all it’s in another country or it causes us too much pain and distress to contemplate it.
We also may feel a desire to get involved but do not know how.
We know that oppression, racism, distrust and violence are never far away.
The United Kingdom has had its fair share of these disparities, within a historical setting and with the oppression of various nations inside and outside the country; suppression of political and religious/faith based groups within Britain; or as currently is the case with the huge disparity between the various social, economic and ethnic groups and increasing racism in the UK.
Britain has also come a long way and over the years there has been significant improvement within the country. The developments in anti-slavery laws, prison reform, workers’ reform, the development of the NHS and many more improvements to name but a few. These have come about as result of Christians and others raising their voices, living Jesus lives and engaging in action. As this has seeped into communities it has led to direct or indirect pressure and influence on local and national government to make changes in accordance with the just ways of God’s kingdom.
Recently this influence has waned so in the future we are moving into, it is even more imperative that we act, pray, and speak and live out the good news of God’s kingdom.
As a prophetic people we are to hold those in authority to account, so our country of many nations and those nations we are connected with are challenged by the love and justice of God’s ways and held to account.
At Springwater we have discussed the Jubilee that God brings to our earth on several occasions. We know that the fullness of God’s kingdom will not be fully manifest until Jesus returns, but in the meantime as followers of Christ we can live out the way of God’s kingdom and expect to see it influence and change our society.
Linsey and I believe the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is very clear in the stories and counsel of scripture that right justice is an integral part of God’s heart.
Jesus was ostracised, beaten and killed,
The following are significant scriptures that highlight God’s heart for justice, and I would encourage you to mull and contemplate them and as you do, allow the Holy Spirit to marinate in you.
Deuteronomy 16: 19ff
Luke 4:18 -19
I am sure there are other scriptures that you are also aware of.
As a church community we have had a growing involvement with people who are marginalized and oppressed in several parts of the world.
As you know Linsey and I have been involved with living out the good news of God’s kingdom in various places around the world. Each place God has taken us to has involved loving people and sharing the way of Jesus but also standing against injustice and oppression.
We sense that as we move into the newness of tomorrow and are directed by the Spirit, God is calling His people to be a just people and walk with arms open to welcome all.
It will be a vital and important part of our lives and we would encourage everyone to engage with this.
The following is a video from a discussion at the Gospel Coalition 2019 on Jesus and Justice that gives some insights to the US situation and what Jesus taught.
What they discuss can also help us as we look at the issues of kingdom justice around the world, in the UK and what Jesus taught on the subject.
Why We Must Love Our Neighbors in Word and Deed
Currently there are many voices racing across the digital space.
Take time to listen to the voices of those whose lives have been changed and are currently facing oppression and injustice in the area of the world that God has placed on your heart.
Our background, culture and experiences all impact how we think.
In this topic may the Lord lead you as you seek His truth and righteousness, so we live out the way of Jesus and not our own understanding, fears or culture.
We each need to grapple with the issue of racism, oppression and injustice as we live in a personal relationship with the Father and in community with others. In Romans 12 we are told to continually have our minds transformed and renewed to know the will of God and live in it. In 1 Corinthians 13 we read what love looks like and in Galatians 5 we are given insight as to the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus, in Matthew 7, tells us that people will know His followers by their fruit.
May Springwater be known as a community where the fruit of the Spirit is, and where people can come and partake of that fruit. May we also personally take that fruit to others and live it out so all those who live in the dark can taste and see that God is good, Psalm 34:8.