Stewards for Justice
Author: Diana Shellenberger
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and truth. — 1 John 3:18
As a lover of words, I appreciate the power they have to inspire and shape intention. Good words merely preface the decision to act on them. Words only begin the transition from good intentions to a generosity of spirit that acknowledges brokenness and a will to make reparations.
Any time is a good time to be generous, and most especially now, during a pandemic, economic crisis and a long-overdue reckoning with our country’s struggle toward racial and economic justice. Now is a time to stretch, to look at how we’ve been stingy with our awareness of injustice and shared resources. Many are learning that when injustice like police brutality is demagogued and ignored, it continues to gnaw away at what justice remains, the same way an eroding cliff eventually gives way to the ocean’s tides. We are standing on what seems like solid ground, as the structure is crumbling beneath our feet. As Americans and Christians committed to justice for all, we can no longer allow indigenous Americans and people of color to bear the weight of institutionalized racism. We need to heed their cries and take compassionate action.
As people of faith with many gifts and talents, we’re already in the process of cultivating more loving, generous hearts. The church community already supports social and economic justice. We are already stewards for justice, and now we are called to do even more.
Generosity is about more than giving others some of what you have accumulated. It is about using your time to develop and express generosity of spirit. It starts with being grateful for the abundance that has come into your life and a commitment to sharing it. It starts with a prayer life that opens your heart and your mind to questions you may not have pondered before these crises. God willing, your prayer life may even reveal a sense of direction and some solutions. It starts with doing something every day to promote fairness. Though the pandemic complicates demonstrating and protesting, you can write letters to the editor and phone elected officials to amplify the demonstrators’ causes. So many in the congregation are lifelong learners. There are great articles, books and podcasts to further your understanding and give you good ideas of how to proceed and what and whom to support.
Most of all, listen. Implicit in the stories you hear is guidance for what can be done. When you listen and act with compassion, you participate in building God’s beloved community here on Earth.