When it comes to injustice, humanity is responsible. When it comes to justice, the Church is particularly responsible. Church being the “big C” Church – the “body of Christ,” composed of every person who loves and follows Jesus. If you have devoted yourself as a disciple of Christ, you are part of the Church. Even before Jesus redeemed us and broke down the wall separating Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 2), God commanded us to justice. Now that we all have access to this same hope, we are to be as one body; one group with the same goals. Since the group is made up of many individuals, we differ in personality and dreams…but there are things that bring us together. Like these two commandments:
In my HOPE61 training we discussed why the Church is equipped to help free slaves today. Upon reflection, we have a strong history to stand on.
First century records show female sex slaves martyred. It wasn’t unusual for a house slave to be used sexually by her master. After some of these women and girls became Christians, they stood up to the perversion and refused to be a part of the abuse. For this they were murdered. These women, our sisters in Christ, stood up to slavery even as they were a part of it. Other masters who became Christians, our sisters and brothers in Christ, released their slaves and sometimes offered fair wages and treatment.
In the 1700s Moravian missionaries began a chain of constant prayer that went unbroken for one hundred years. They were some of the first missionaries to see slaves as equally deserving to hear the news of salvation. They left their homes to live among slaves and preach the Gospel to them. Not as free men – but as slaves themselves.
Kathryn Bushnell was a Christian woman living in the 1800s. While overseas her heart was broken for prostituted women. When she returned to the US, she came across the reality of sexual slavery in Wisconsin lumber camps, where prostituted women were kept in cages, abused, and violated. She fought against this injustice by speaking out – but the Christians she met with deemed the topic distasteful. They shrugged it off or even sternly told her to forget about what she knew. Bushnell’s story is heartbreaking because the American Church never truly received the urgency of her message. Still, she devoted her life to justice, fighting through writing and prayer.
These are just a few examples of, mostly, the ways the American Church has been involved. I bring these examples to you because most of you dear readers are Americans. We have some examples of abolitionists before us, we have examples behind us. We have the choice to become one of them. One of the main things we must tackle as the Church is the deep sexualization of our culture, as I talked about before. As the American Church – and the global Church – we must do the four things discussed in HOPE61 training that day:
1. Bodly proclaim!
“And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah…He found the place where it is written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me…to proclaim liberty to the captives. …And He began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ “
–Luke 4:17-18, 21
2. Give time to prayer & thought…
“Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.”
3. Exhort others.
“Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud on their beds.”
4. Give the holy challenge!
“Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor & needy.”
As you pray for, support, and encourage me, I consider you already a part of this fight and for that I thank you. But even as I examine my own life I see the need for greater work for justice. If you’d like some ideas of how you or your church can do more – or if you want to run an idea by me – let me know! If I can’t help you, I’ll find someone who can!