Lectionary readings for today:
Thus says the Lord: Act with justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor anyone who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the alien, the orphan, and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place…Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper rooms by injustice; who makes his neighbors work for nothing, and does not give them their wages; Jer 22:3, 13
“The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for us all and incorporated into our common life.” Jane Addams
Time and time (and time!) again, throughout both Old and New Testaments, we read about God’s commands to exact justice on behalf of those whose voices were nonexistent, stolen and silenced by the majority culture. Thousands of years later, in 2013, those same commands to exact justice could not be truer and more necessary.
Being the Community Organizer for Mercy Junction, it is my duty and my delight to act on behalf of the South side residents, to keep their well being and needs as my primary concern and objective. That means more than simply creating access to fresh produce or cultivating it. It means cultivating rich relationships, too. Justice means reengaging assets the residents possess that, like nutrient-depleted soil, have been robbed from them over the decades through institutional, systemic, and religious means. Like watching a plant grow strong and bear much fruit, righteousness means extolling the community for the beauty and radiance that has always been there. (After all, anything begets itself, so why not plant seeds of good?) Doing the community no wrong means recognizing history and my inherent privilege, and walking humbly among them – not as giver, but as receiver. There is so much more at stake here than a produce market or a community garden; we are talking about people’s lives. I, we, have a great responsibility to act with justice and righteousness, and to do no wrong.
May we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. So be it.