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Quote and Commentary on Social Justice March 9, 2007

Posted by Joe in Random Musings.
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Lar,

The topic of social justice is still close to my heart, so I figured I would start the day/finish the week with a few thoughts and quotes. First, I wanted to quote again the article that I linked to this Monday. It began,

Mercy ministry is working to alleviate the burdens of another person, it is meeting their real or perceived needs through Gospel driven deeds. Mercy Ministry is kingdom ministry. It incorporates all of the effects of the coming of the kingdom of God and thus is a visual, viable representation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, through whom all things are redeemed, first partially in the old covenant, then really and more fully in the new covenant, and finally and completely in the kingdom to come. This kingdom principle and God’s own pattern of “mercy ministry” can be traced throughout Scripture, beginning at creation and continued through these last days.

Much could be said on that quote in terms of commentary, but the first thing I would like to point out is that mercy ministry involves working for the physical needs of people. That isn’t said explicitly in this quote, but it is in the article. And it is very important for us to see, for there is most definitely a psuedo-spirituality among us that minimizes our physicality. Too often we emphasize the life of the spirit in a way that inevitably minimizes our place as physical beings.

Of course, the two are most definitely connected, but if we don’t speak this way (emphasizing the physical that is), we will invariably end up emphasizing the spiritual to the neglect of the physical. And it is because we do (and have done) this that so many of us struggle with things that relate to our physical existence. We become overly ‘spiritual’ in that we focus on the life of the soul, not realizing that unless it translates into the transformation of our bodily habits, that inner life isn’t worth a lick. Soul and body are connected and both must be transformed. Indeed, the Lord commands it. As 2 Corinthians 7:1 reads,

“Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bring holiness to completion in the fear of God.”

We must focus on both our body and spirit being brought into holiness and completion. To focus on our inner life to the neglect of the outer is to frustrate ourselves in our inevitable and God-ordained physical existence.

Second and lastly, notice that merciful deeds are “a visual, viable representation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” That also is very important. It is pointing to the simple reality that our inner experience must and will have external expression before the eyes of the world. This expression will especially be found in external, physical deeds aiming at social justice for the weakest of the weak.

Scripture makes plain that the Lord is jealous for the good of the poor. Indeed, we are the poor for whom He has acted through the death and resurrection of His Son. Thus, freely we have received, freely we are called to give. Christ suffered for us, leaving for us an example that we might follow in His steps. He became poor, so that we through His poverty might become rich. And as Jesus makes plain, a servant is not greater than his master, nor a disciple his teacher. We have no real choice. If we truly believe in Jesus, we will follow in His steps. We will fight for physical causes. We will become a people of mercy.

I have another quote or two, so Lord willing I will post them up later–with a lot less commentary probably. Suffice it to say brother that I believe we are desperate for a deeper understanding of our combined (and good) physical and spiritual existence and our call to meet the physicals needs of those who surround us. May the Lord have mercy on us and give us greater understanding, so that we might more faithfully work!

Laboring to become a man of mercy,

Joe

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