Last year I blogged about the justice conference, this year I went. It seemed almost painful to be missing out last year, as I felt steeped in the work of justice, really I was only beginning to learn the concepts behind what it means to live justly. God’s justice, not ours, not our societies, not our systems, but His.
Side note: Just because, I started reading Job a few days ago; if that doesn’t mess with your concept of justice, not much will.
What did I learn at the justice conference? Quite a lot, I’d say. I should pull out my notes at this very moment. They are, however, in another room and I started this blog and if I want to finish it I won’t get up from where I’m sitting.
Learning to live with justice starts with you and God. It starts when your heart is pulled into the awesome life that Jesus lived and died for us, and when God reveals himself on earth as a human being, well, you better stop and look, listen, and take notes. And you better memorize those notes. Really, that is why this conference is happening. It is us Christians responding to all the mumbo jumbo we’ve said; all the things we’ve done in the name of God, in our past, and in the present that have hurt people, destroyed relationships and only contributed to the mess.
The truth is, a lot of churches really are trying to do what they can to help out. Many of them really want to make an impact in their communities – for the better. They want to respond to the call we are given to take care of those in need, to love our neighbor, to love our enemy.
More than knowing these things, the right things to do, to say, to work toward, to prove, I’m convinced they won’t mean much if we don’t first know God. We’ve gotten everything muddled up about what it means to look like Christians, and what the right things to do are. Jesus was hated, persecuted and killed by religious leaders. These men were sincerely trying to follow their faith and law, and were fully devout in doing so – and God turns the story upside down. Although, this way of thinking was not introduced to me recently, it is still shocking. It is still confusing.
What does justice look like? According to the many brilliant speakers I listened to last weekend, it looks a lot of different ways. Some drastic, some subtle, some broken, some brave. The Gospels really are comforting in this area, for we see Jesus call all sorts of followers, and they all respond in different ways.
Maybe that is the key to this: response. Our response to Jesus should look like something, and it will grow, transform and take shape as we become more like children, closer to him, closer to living out the perfect peace and wholeness that God intended. Oh, that reminds me of a place…walking in a garden, enveloped in God’s presence, tending to his creation.
When I think about justice, I think about Jesus, about God’s relational desires longing to be met in us, as a people, as a body. After that, I figure, that my day will be filled with Jesus, and thus, filled with justice.
Thank you to our supporters who lavished their generosity on us, we would not have been able to take this trip and experience the conference and the city as freely as we did. It was truly a once in a lifetime trip!