• "...to bring good news to the poor... proclaim release to the captives... let the oppressed go free..."
  • (Luke 4:18-19)

    Seeking to Be a Part of “the Beloved Community”

    By Gail Aita, coordinator of the Western Section

    Part of our ABW Ministries’ theme for the year has been “See…the Beloved Community.” We’ve been thinking about subjects like “Who is my neighbor?” and “What does it mean to belong to a beloved community?” as well as “How do we strive for justice for all people?”

    Amos says, “Let justice roll down like water.”

    Micah says: “He has shown thee, oh man, what is good, and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God.” Micah’s message is directed against sins of the people in Jerusalem and Samaria and the capitals of Judah and Israel. The corrupt rulers, false prophets, ungodly priests, and cheating merchants are the main reasons for the judgment.

    Yet, it is also our responsibility to speak out against injustice. And it is also our responsibility to speak up for justice—to speak up for that which is right. We cannot ever stop fighting for justice for all peoples. We may not be able to change the world we live in in our own lifetime. But there is something we can change, and that is ourselves.

    What does God ask of us? To do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God.

    To do justice: We need to be responsible for being just people. We are in control of how we act. We have within our power to do that which is right, and just, not only for other Christians, but for the Jew, the Muslim, the atheists—all human beings.

     To love kindness: Any genuine act of kindness comes from the heart. I Samuel 16:7 says, “But the Lord said unto Samuel, ‘Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord sees not as man sees, for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on his heart.” God not only knows what we are doing, but also knows why we are doing something. God knows our motivation even when we do not. God knows if our hearts are full of kindness and love. We are not to take advantage of who we are. Micah’s judgement was against false prophets—those who do not preach God’s true word. He was against corrupt government rulers as well as church leaders. He was against ungodly priests: those religious leaders, pastors, and teachers who may take advantage of those under their care—the young and helpless, the immigrants, the old widows. We need to treat kindly and seek justice for the gays, the lesbians, the transgendered, the returning citizens, and those who are marginalized within our American society today. Remember, God looks at the attitude of the heart. Are you taking care of those in your care or are you wanting them to take care of you? Is your heart right with God or not?

    And to walk humbly with your God: We are God’s servants, we are called to do God’s will and to seek His face. We are to lift God up and not ourselves. But we must also remember that God has called us: We are set apart for His service.

    I Corinthians 3:17 says, “If a man defiles the temple of God, him shall God destroy, for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” We are holy in God’s sight for we are God’s temple. Everywhere we go is Holy Ground—for we are God’s and God dwells within us. And so, my sisters, know that the one you have responsibility for is yourself. Know that you are to speak out against injustice. Know that God knows your heart, know that God is always with you, and know that wherever you go is Holy Ground—for you are God’s holy temple and God dwells inside of you. Amen.

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