Righteousness and Justice are the foundation of your throne. Love and faithfulness go before you. Psalm 89:14
Let me share with you what I have been learning. I read this book “The Last Word and the Word after That” by Brian McLaren. The book starts off about heaven and hell but ends in this strange denunciation of what present-day Christians have made Jesus into. You see, we tend to think that Jesus came down to Earth to save us from hell. That is his main goal and purpose. Because of this we read certain things certain ways. For instance in Matthew 5 when we read “Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” We read, “Hey all you people who are lonely and discouraged, hold in there cause you’ll get to heaven someday.” And then we proceed to drive to Target and buy things we don’t need or waste our time watching television. Anyway, the premise of the book is that Jesus came to redeem life here on Earth. (PS- It’s not saying that there isn’t a heaven or that we shouldn’t look foward to it). We tend to use the heaven/hell ideology as a means to justify our not helping the poor, the lonely, the addicted, the marginalized. When Jesus speaks about the kingdom of heaven, He means it as He did in the Lord’s prayer “May your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” God is about justice and we live in a grossly unjust world.
Jesus instructs us to pursue the kingdom of heaven. What does that mean? I am quickly learning that it means that we should try to redeem as much of the fallen Earth as we can. When we see that a people group is being treated unfairly, by anyone- the government, the media, the world- we need to stand up for them and claim justice for them as Christ would have done. Jesus was an activist. Yes, he instructed people in their spiritual lives but that was between healing and praying and turning tables over and forgiving. We’ve gotten so comfortable with the idea that God just wants everyone to go to heaven that we’ve forgotten about offering people the kingdom of heaven here on Earth.
We make evangelism to be a scary word. Some people just won’t do it. Let me ask you this. If Christians stop bickering about theological doctrine like predestination and which way is the right way for baptism, and we decide to help those who are forgotten or expendable to society, think about the impact. Our actions will actually match up with our words. What if instead of condemning homosexuals, we loved them and fought for justice for them? What if, instead of protesting abortion clinics and shaming the people who used them, we actually fought for better support for single pregnant women and we took them to lunch (says Joseph Barkell)? What if, instead of trying to demonize the Middle East and treating Muslims like criminals even though they are US citizens, we try to understand more about Islam and their culture and we try to walk a mile in their shoes? I propose the results would be astounding.
If we are to be the light of God in the world, people need to know that God is for them; that God remembers them; that God loves them. When we turn our heads and say, “Oh they’re choosing to go to hell anyway.” or “They might be suffering now, but they’ll get their reward in heaven”, we are ignoring a giant part of Jesus’s message. Pure, unadulterated love for the world. For everyone.
I would like to add that yesterday, I was walking around Hastings and I was thinking about this quality of injustice and how prevalent it is in the world and I just got mad. Real mad. It’s almost as if I was feeling what God feels. And while I probably wouldn’t have chosen that emotion specifically, it was nice to feel emotion at all. It’s been so long since I’ve felt passionate about something and now God hands me the whole world to be passionate about. That’s why I love Him.
Ladies and gentlemen, Beth 4 has just become an activist.