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Working for Justice

Sue Pickering enjoys a game in India with a 5-year-old boy who had been abandoned because he had a disability.
The 28th Synod affirmed a five line Call for the Uniting Church in Queensland in discerning the future of the Church. This edition we look at the final phrase: Working for justice.

WHAT IS justice? Where do we start? How can we change the world? How do we stand against injustice?

These are all questions I ask myself regularly and each time I feel that what I come up with is quite inadequate.

Working for justice can seem like a huge mandate, but in reality, I believe, it is part of our call to discipleship. Therefore we are challenged to consider what it means for each of us and to consider how we are to live out this call as Easter people.

For me working for justice is an integral part of my faith.

We worship a God who had a preference for the poor, a God who called for justice through the prophets, a God who in human form, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, modelled a life of justice and peace.

Jesus didn’t go to the cross for being a meek, mild-mannered man but because he challenged the status quo, because God’s vision was one of justice, reconciliation, peace, mercy and forgiveness and we, as disciples of Christ, are called to that radical alternative lifestyle.

So many people in the world live in the shadow of injustice; usually the people who do are among the most vulnerable.

I believe that as Easter people we are called to consider carefully how we live. One of the very basic responses we can make is in relation to our consumerism. How just are the products we purchase and the companies we purchase from?

Do we consider the working conditions of the people who produce our goods, the ethics of the companies that display their logos on the goods we purchase? Do we know whether the source of our product is fair and just? Have we considered issues such as debt-bonded slavery, sweatshops and fair pay?

Do we think about the language that we use and how we oppress our neighbours? Do we consider the impact on ‘the other’ in the way we speak when we discuss disability, sexuality, social status? Is our speech just? Does it build up or tear down?

I believe that working for justice means that sometimes we may be the lone voice, sometimes we make choices that people will mock and ridicule and perhaps even worse.

We are called to “bring good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free”. I have yet to find a passage that says it would be easy.

While many may believe that the real threats to humanity are things like climate change, weapons of mass destruction and poverty I would like to suggest that ultimately the biggest threat to humanity is humanity.

It is humanity that oppresses, humanity that discriminates, humanity that controls wealth distribution and humanity that scrambles for power using military force.

Photo : Sue Pickering enjoys a game in India with a 5-year-old boy who had been abandoned because he had a disability.