The seasons of Advent and Christmas have found our church building adorned in light. Now as we move to the Epiphany season, a banner will soon announce from our tower: “Let Justice Flow Like Water.” Justice is the hard work of infusing love into the structures of our society. Our thanks to our Open Space participants on Racial Reckoning who are helping us hear God’s call to live justly.
“January is Justice Month at St. James …
Theologian Richard Rohr describes our call to justice this way. Imagine a river flowing out of control — overflowing its banks and bringing suffering.
We help in three ways:
1. We rescue people, dealing with their immediate social problem. This is direct-service ministry, like feeding the houseless.
2. We create ministries/agencies to help people not fall into the river. Thus we build hospitals and schools, and start jobs programs.
3. We build and maintain a dam to prevent flooding in the first place.
This requires expense and new thinking. Most of us never get to #3. This is structural change; systemic change. Often it looks like protesting, boycotting, and non-violent acts. Sometimes that’s what it takes to build a dam to prevent flooding and suffering. Amos the prophet calls us to all three of these justice tasks.
Now think on how our St. James ministry fits this scenario:
1. We provide food five days a week for immediate needs.
2. We created the St. James Apartments for people of low income.
3. We push ourselves to voice the need for systemic changes.
As this new year begins, let’s devote ourselves again to this justice work.”