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Movements of Justice and the Spirit
Movements of Justice and the Spirit

The Spirit Moves Us to Justice

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Community organizer Idalin Luz Montes Bobé draws inspiration from the Holy Spirit’s energy shared on the first Pentecost:   

In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit comes to—and into—the disciples of Jesus [and] enables the disciples to speak in such a way that others, no matter where they come from or what language they speak, can understand.  

That same Spirit is at work today, and we can still feel the power and unity of that moment. That Spirit is the power that affirms for us the worthiness we are so often denied and reminds us that we are beloved. It gives us the power to cry justice in the face of oppression, and claim human rights as our inheritance, and grow our movement. When we cry out in protest, we hear, see, and feel the Spirit moving.  

We read that when the Holy Spirit comes in this way to the disciples, they are mocked and called drunkards. . . . Yet they carry a life-affirming message, and through their unity, they are filled up with a spirit that sustains them. Peter steps forward to oppose the lies being told about this freedom movement. He reminds everyone there that the disciples are fulfilling what has been proclaimed: that in God’s kingdom, young and old, men and women, and especially the poor will prophesy.  

To prophesy is to carry a message of the mind of God to a particular situation. God’s mind is always on justice, on the end of oppression, on fully living. This empowerment, carrying God’s unmistakable message, is exactly what happens when movements for liberation take root. . . . 

Our systems try to shame us, silence us, and divide us, but the Holy Spirit unites us and imparts the ability to deliver a message. We will not be divided, ridiculed, or vilified. We all have messages about defending life—messages that God wants others to hear. The Holy Spirit is moving in our midst. [1]  

Rev. Dr. Yvette Flunder describes the spiritual revival that joined people of different races in the Pentecostal movement:  

The greatest manifestation of the power of God comes when we work together to find ways to be together and do justice together and love together and stand together.  

In 1906 in Los Angeles a revival broke out in a small mission on Azusa Street, led by Rev. William J. Seymour. This revival marked the beginning of the modern day Pentecostal movement. The event has been reduced over time to a group of people displaying external “signs and wonders” such as speaking in tongues, healings, and prophecy, with little meaning to most people today. But the power of that Pentecostal revival was not in the external manifestations of speaking in tongues and healings but in the miracle of black and white people worshipping together, men and women preaching together and decrying racism and sexism by their very presence in one place. The Spirit still moves when we move past our prejudices and differences. [2] 


[1] Idalin Luz Montes Bobé, “The Power to Cry Justice,” in We Cry Justice: Reading the Bible with the Poor People’s Campaign, ed. Liz Theoharis (Minneapolis, MN: Broadleaf Books, 2021), 37–38, 39. 

[2] Yvette Flunder, Where the Edge Gathers: Building a Community of Radical Inclusion (Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press, 2005), 84. 

Explore Further. . .  

Image credit: Khamkéo Vilaysing, Lonely Tree (detail), 2017, France, photograph, Unsplash. Anastase Maragos, Calm Tide (detail), 2020, Canada, photograph, Unsplash. Clark Gu, Untitled (detail), 2020, Korea, photograph, Unsplash. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge image.  

Image inspiration: We cannot see the wind, but we feel it. We recognize its presence by watching the world around us move in response to its power. At times, the movement of Spirit towards justice feels invisible and interminably slow, but like waves slowly shaping the shoreline, in time we see the fruits of God’s movement. 

Story from Our Community:

I practiced law for 40 years. At some point, I realized that law school and my litigation practice steeped me in the dualistic thinking that mirrored my conservative religious upbringing. But I realized that applying binary logic to judge the infinite variables of human experience is illogical. When I was able to open my mind to the spectrum of gray between the black and white alternatives, the invitation into God’s mystery became more appealing. . . I’m thankful for the Daily Meditations and Father Richard Rohr for introducing me to the many shades of gray that better reflect the reality of the human experience. —Larry B.

Share your own story with us.

Prayer for our community:

God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough,  because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.

Listen to the prayer.


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