Justice is a garment. Love is the thread… When those two are broken, the whole thing unravels.
Those are the words echoing in my heart days after getting home from the Justice Conference last weekend in Portland, OR. Besides falling in love with the West Coast, I had the privilege of diving deep into theology with some amazing men and women of God. And as those challenging, heart-wrenching topics and conversations resonate deeply through me, I feel crushed (in the best sense of the word.) It’s something like this:
“Unless you’re crushed (like a seed), you can’t grow. It will drive you to prayer. When you ask, He will steer you into the garment of justice where your love is an irreplaceable thread.” – Ken Wytsma
I was crushed at a pivotal point in my walk with Jesus four years ago. I’ve written some about that before, but that time of learning about the extreme poverty in the world transformed everything I’d known and believed about God before that. But I think the best things in life come when we’re broken like that. It’s when real change happens that opens up the doors to who God really is.
Powerful speakers came forth in honest truth this weekend. I won’t unpack all of these comments in this post, but I hope to unravel some of these thoughts further in coming posts as I continue to think about justice and how that’s living out in my own life. Here’s a few thoughts:
“We’ve made ministry to the poor a story about ourselves. This MUST change.” – Ken Wystma
“We are made in the image of God – there is an image of God in each of us. Listen and see what He’s doing inside – and create! Sounds good right? But here’s the catch: Are you afraid of approaching the canvas?” – Steve Carter
“The reach of God’s love is the scope of our respect. If His love is indiscriminate, the so must our love be.” -Miroslav Volf
“Like Jesus, our GUTS have to be stirred by the horrible injustices saying ‘THIS IS NOT RIGHT!’ It must be this way to be changed. Jesus himself was emotionally vulnerable and compelled to interact on behalf of people.” – Walter Brueggemann
“There is a micro-revolution rising up where ordinary people overcome apathy by radical infusion by Jesus Christ!” – Rick McKinley
“We need to be pro-life from the womb to the tomb!” -Shane Claiborne
“Where there is suffering, the solution is ever so near.” -Stephan Bauman
I think what strikes me most is the heart of God in places like this. Justice is so close to the heart of our Father, and I am amazed at how over and over again, he comes in the greatness of His Spirit and holds out beacons of hope for the lost and hurting. We’re His hands and feet. And I want to be able to say that I am living that as best as I possibly can. Dreaming of a better kingdom, and working towards a better world.
(If this has sparked something, would love to talk further about the conference. You can register now for next February’s conference in Philly. Hope to see you there!)