Amos 5:24 -- "But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."
In mid-February, I took granddaughters Penelope and Rosemary with me to Selma and Montgomery, specifically for the purpose of exploring and learning about Civil Rights sites in those places. They were confronted with stories and issues they had thought little about previously, and I was once again reminded that racism existed in the 1960's, and it is still rampant today. As you know, I do my best to avoid political controversies on this blog, but it cannot be denied that what God cares about, I need to care about. And He cares about justice.
Isaiah 1:17 -- "Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow."
Micah 6:8 -- "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
Do you see God's REQUIREMENTS for us in that verse? Do justice. Love kindness. Walk humbly with Him.
Jeremiah 22:3 -- "This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place."
Proverbs 31:9 -- "Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."
Were we ignoring these verses in the Bible in the 1860's and 1960's? Were they not being preached to the people in the pews? Are we ignoring them now?
I ask you: What are we -- those of us who call ourselves Christians, followers of Jesus Christ who sit in our churches on Sunday morning -- doing to "do justice," "rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed," "defend the oppressed?" What?
And, furthermore, what am I, a 70-year-old white woman who has been a Christian for 62 years, doing?
What if I were a member of First Baptist Church in Minneapolis, New York City or Washington, D.C. right now? What would I want my church to do?
Admittedly, this is intensely personal for me, especially because of my grandchildren. One of them is black. She doesn't have a civil rights heritage. Her birth great-grandparents and grandparents weren't slaves on a plantation. But she did come from another country with an extreme background of poverty. What if she marries a white man and their children are biracial? What if she marries a black man? What about his future and the possibilities that will be available for their children? Or what about any of the other grands? They are being taught to love ALL people. They could very well marry someone of another race, and most certainly they will have friends who are of a different color or background.
(These are not my grandchildren, but I have a couple who could strike a similar pose).
In 1963, these lines were in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington, D.C.: Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
I read these words in a devotional written by Miranda Jo Davis for Proverbs 31 Ministries: "On the days Jesus walked the earth, He leaned in, got close to, showed compassion for, pursued and redeemed marginalized people.
He touched the person with leprosy, healed the demon-possessed, gave sight to the blind and had a brood of friends who were the most unlikely of characters. Jesus saved them rather than discarded them, becoming a part of their life, not apart from it. Jesus loves us in our most unlovable state, never telling us to get our act together to receive His faithful presence. Jesus is in the business of upcycling souls, and His arms are open, welcoming everyone!"
I want to have a heart like that of Jesus, don't you?
In Jesus' day, the racial divide was between Samaritans and Jews. When you have a chance, read John 4:1-42 and think deeply about all of the implications. That's what I'm doing today. I would truly appreciate your thoughts.