Just Like Jesus / 21 Days of Justice Week 2 (Justice & Righteousness & Shalom): FRIDAY
With all the noise in the world, do you hear the voice of God? Your calendar tells you what to do, but do you remember who you are? Being comes before doing. This is a call to put first things first. Return to the Lord with this daily pattern of prayer and devotion. Set aside this time as a sanctuary. Find a space free of distraction and follow this pattern.
Invocation: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Word: The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery. They have oppressed the poor and needy, and have extorted from the sojourner without justice. And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. Therefore I have poured out my indignation upon them. I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath. I have returned their way upon their heads, declares the Lord God. (Ez. 22:29-31).
Pastor and editor Matthew O. Staneck, from the Lutheran Forum, explains how we might use the words of Luther to take a new look at how Black Americans have been treated in the United States and how our Christian faith might compel us to action.
We can lay down our tools of self-deception and lean into the words of Luther: “We are to fear and love God, so that we neither take our neighbors’ money or property nor acquire them by using shoddy merchandise or crooked deals, but instead help them to improve and protect their property and income.” It is staggering to think of the generations of Black Americans who have seen property and income taken away from them through the de jure institutions of slavery and Jim Crow segregation and the de facto institutions that persist to this day. The righteousness that saves comes to us from God, and we receive it passively. Righteousness is also lived out daily in our horizontal relationships with and among our neighbors. Lutherans, who understand that identity and security is rooted in Christ alone, can and should reasonably advocate for righteousness to be done for the sake of our defrauded neighbors. Our Black neighbors have been cruelly defrauded against throughout the history of this country. (https://www.lutheranforum.com/blog/a-lutheran-case-for-reparations-summer-2020?fbclid=IwAR3cU8mn62I1DRzaxlkZt6-F62wl1Dsxbo4ENwM9Yyr7sS8yu5xQ9uoVp0g)
How might we as Lutheran-Christians, individually and as a church, “improve and protect” the lives of Black Americans? Could we support more businesses owned by people of color? If you are in the place to hire people, could you actively seek to hire a person of color or promote a person of color to a place of leadership? Pray that God might use you to bring forth social and racial justice.
Prayer: Lord God, you have blessed our country with abundant wealth and resources. Deliver us from greed and consumerism and sharp dealing. May true justice, fairness, and care for our neighbor reign in our economy. Amen.