Cultivating Justice

Justice: Week 1

Cultivating Justice
Thursday, June 14, 2018

Jack Jezreel describes three additional essential aspects of following Jesus and creating a world of justice and peace. [1]

Take Time to Pray

. . . Prayer is a way of connecting with our source. It is about being centered, grounded, mindful of the holy, the presence of the sacred and the precious. . . . Prayer can help us to connect with the poor with open eyes and hearts. It is prayer that can allow us to educate with patience, love and understanding. It is prayer that can enable us to move to a simpler lifestyle. And it is prayer that will allow us to do this with conviction and joy.

And whether or not we pray is as obvious as whether or not we have put our clothes on. For example, the compulsive, frantic, angry, cynical, unintegrated rambling from project to project—even from peace project to peace project—may speak of good intentions, but also of an uneasy and untended inner life. It is possible . . . to do much harm because we have not taken the time to pray. . . .

Commitment to Nonviolence

. . . Violence is awful. Violence is ugly. Violence is the saddest of human acts. As [Pope] John Paul stated, “War is a defeat for humanity.” [2] . . . It is so very difficult to lead people into a willing critique of their politics, their country, their allegiances, without some awareness of how violence is so often the handmaid of greed and power. . . .

We are nonviolent, not because we simply eschew violence; rather, we are nonviolent because we are people who love like Jesus. When our lives are active and occupied in the name of doing good, there is little space for violence and doing harm.

Community

. . . Community is the most neglected and probably the most difficult ingredient for us to hold to in the U.S. context. And for the most obvious of reasons—we have come to worship at the altar of independence, individualism and autonomy. As much as there is a deep hunger for connection, common purpose, and kindred hearts, there is a merciless, deep-rooted entrenchment in the forces of competition, freedom and self-rule. . . .

As you might guess, when I say community I do not mean the bowling community, or even the church bowling community. Rather, I mean a community that makes very intentional commitments, including those I have mentioned so far: engagement with those of the margins, justice education or formation, simplicity, prayer, and peacemaking. [3]

[In closing,] we must imagine what God’s peace and justice look like on this earth, and we must begin the work of crafting structures, institutions, human realities that are the antithesis to division, hate, greed and scarcity, that anticipate and cultivate justice and goodness and peace.

References:
[1] See the first three ingredients in Peace and Justice work, https://cac.org/justice-with-peace-2018-06-13/.

[2] Pope John Paul II, Speech to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See (January 13, 2003), http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/speeches/2003/january/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_20030113_diplomatic-corps.html.

[3] For more on Community, see Richard Rohr, https://cac.org/community-weekly-summary-2018-05-12/.

Jack Jezreel, “Culturing Peace in a Culture of Violence,” Phase 4, Session 19 of the JustFaith 2017-18 Program, https://justfaith.org/.

Image credit: Memorial Corridor at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice (detail), Montgomery, Alabama (800 six-feet-tall hanging steel monuments, one for each county where a lynching took place, with the names of the victims engraved on them).
Inspiration for this week’s banner image:
Our nation’s history of racial injustice casts a shadow across the American landscape. This shadow cannot be lifted until we shine the light of truth on the destructive violence that shaped our nation, traumatized people of color, and compromised our commitment to the rule of law and to equal justice. —Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director, The Equal Justice Initiative
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