Church Blog

A follow up on being servants of public justice

If I had more time on Sunday…I would have kept on going about what our actions towards public justice could look like in the place where God has sent us. That is where it matters for us and that is where God will hold us accountable. Justice for our neighbors most likely won’t take the form of a Facebook campaign, but it just might take the form of a casserole.

We have been served fully by Jesus

First, remember that we have been served by Jesus. He has fully given us salvation by taking away our sin and sorrow and he has fully given us redemption by caring away the debt of our sins on the cross. We respond to the service of Jesus in the service of worship, in service to the church and in service in all of life; that is, in our personal righteousness and our public justice. Justice is personal righteousness applied publicly. It is reestablishing the order that God would in our community have so that the people and the place would benefit from a relationship to him. Therefore, it is first evangelistic, only those who are converted and come to relationship with Christ through the justice of the cross can know true justice in themselves. We know that it will only be complete finally one day, when King Jesus Himself reigns over all, but it is true in the way we live faithfully here and now and can be more and more true as we live more and more faithfully. (All of this I said in the sermon).

So, finally, while the church as an organizational maintains the task of preaching the Word and making disciples, we all go out in volunteering and our vocations.

In our volunteering
When we volunteer, we join in the good works that are going on our community. By so doing, we encourage those things that are worth encouraging, we encourage public justice. When we lead  in our volunteer organizations, our values lead too. It is important to note that these things are not necessarily evangelistic, but are the kind of works, as Peter said, that will cause those who see to give glory to God, if not now, then none day. I personally volunteer in the community with many great organizations. I have three or four places where I could plug you in right now and get myself out of the way, so that I could dedicate more time to my vocation of Word and discipleship. I have a vision that one day, Christians will be in key roles and every volunteer organization that touches the life of our community. Right now, God has brought the possibilities of several part-time roles that could be key leadership areas for the volunteer good in our community. If you were interested, please let me know. You may the one God is raising up to be a bringing of good and public justice to your neighbors.

In our vocations
Every one of us was trained by a guild for our vocations. If you are a teacher you went through a process, if you were a doctor you went through a process, if you are engineer you with her process. Your guild had a certain set of beliefs, and they were likely not your beliefs. It is time for you to ask the question, “What would be different in my day to day work if I believed that Jesus has served me fully and wants me to serve towards the goal of him being glorified by the people I serve?”

I have a vision of christian business leaders and business owners gathering together all around our community. These men and women could share a common vision of what it looks like for our community to experience the justice of God and to give glory to God for the way their business is run. If there are enough of us, working together, on the same plan, then real, practical and particular change could take place for the good of our neighbors and the glory of God. I mean, there could be real public justice right here in our place; our widows will be better served by local business than government agencies, our orphans will be better cared for in generous and gracious church families, our poor raised up, taught and mentored by local tradesmen and women. So, gather with other people in your field, gather with other business owners or start a business of your own. Do it now and make a 20 year plan to raise up the whole village as you raise up believers in the church. God is right now, calling one of you to lead this. You will be a force of good and glory for our people and place.

Most importantly, learn to be personally righteous in the way you do your work and take very deliberate daily steps so that the people you serve walk away thinking that you are the best service that they have ever had in your field. Do this, with the God given goal that they know that God is the one who has served you with salvation and, perhaps, come to know Him too.

We become what we worship

The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love.

Henry Scougal, The Life of God in the Soul of Man

I found myself fumbling for this quote on Sunday during the first service, never found it in the mental database and didn’t even try in the 2nd service.

But it is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books. Henry Scougal was a Scottish minister and the dean of Aberdeen University when he died at the age of 27. He became the Dean at age of 24 and he entered the same university to study at the age of 15 already fluent in Latin and Greek. It wasn’t because he was a prodigy per se, he was the product of amazing training by very dedicated parents…and he was somewhat of a prodigy.

The fruitful writings of his young life focus on the personal holiness that flows out of a life of worship. The full passage goes like this:

The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love: he who loveth mean and sorted things doth thereby become base and vile; but a noble and well-placed affection doth advanced and improve the spirit into a conformity with perfection which it loves.

He goes on:

The true way to improve and ennnoble our souls is, by fixing our love on the divine perfection is, that we may have them always before us, and derive an impression of them on ourselves, and ‘beholding with an open face, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, we may be changed into the same image, from glory to glory.’

He who, with a generous and holy ambition, hath raised his eyes towards that uncreated beauty and goodness, and fixed his affection there, is quite of another spirit, have a more excellent and her relic temper than the rest of the world.

May we be ones who become like the one we worship; the one who was rich and for our sake became poor; the one who washed his disciples feet; the one who laid down his life to ransom us from slavery to sin and death.