Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lenten Week 4: Act Justly

**First, the goats have now been listed on Craigslist.  If you know of anyone who may be interested in one or both of our little guys, please feel free to forward the links below:

This week's Lenten focus is to Act Justly.  This, of course, comes from Micah 6:8 where God tells us what He requires of us: "to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God."

I've heard this verse a lot. But, as a life-long church-goer,  I can't say that I've heard a lot of sermons on "justice."  Mostly, my experience with the term has been more to do with people getting their just desserts or some reference to our legal system.  What does God mean when he asks, no, requires us to "Act Justly"?

I guess the dictionary is as good a place as any to begin.  Just, the adjective, means "guided by truth, reason, equality, fairness."  Well, I definitely want to be like that.  I can think of justice in terms of circles within circles -- the innermost circle being those that I feel are closest to me and the outermost being that vast ocean of humanity that I will never encounter personally.  The innermost circle is my little family.  Am I fair in my treatment of my kids?  Are my expectations of them guided by reason?  Moving out a circle or two, how do I do justice in my community, church, extended family? 
The thing that may be the most challenging, though is thinking about those outermost circles.  If a pebble drops in the water of the innermost circle, do the ripples or waves not eventually reach the outermost circles as well?  Sometimes it's challenging to think in those terms, but I think that acting justly is very much about considering how the way I personally live is affecting my fellow man.  Are the decisions I'm making daily or the systems I'm a part of detrimental to people in the outermost circle -- people who I may never encounter?  

What I can't help but notice about the Bible verse, though,is the verb act.  This is not a call to read about justice or to be in favor of justice.  It is a call to do justice.   To move.  To act.   How do I do that? 

Honestly, this week's focus leaves me reeling a little bit.  I feel ill-equipped.  In the past Lenten weeks, I've had some concrete things that I've done during the week -- things that I can check off a list.  This week, though, -- a week that is all about doing -- I feel at a loss.  I'm struggling with coming up with ideas that are doing justice.  Help?

I wish I had more concrete things to do this week, but, alas, this is all I've got (for now):
1.  Make a list of Fair Trade shopping sites and make use of them when needed to purchase gifts and the like. 
2.  Learn more about how to "Act Justly" in my community.  One way I'll do this is by listening to Shane Claiborne's podcast on the subject (search iTunes to download it for free).
3.  Pray like this:  God, create in me a clean heart, a just heart -- one that is sensitive to injustice, unfairness, and inequality.  Give me eyes that I may see the parts of myself or my world that are unjust and create in me a desire to act out Your justice.

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