Caught in a Tension That Never Was Supposed to Exist
Hope Weekly 10-13-13
Caught in a tension that was never supposed to exist
As a student at North Park University in Chicago I had several friends who gave up their Friday night to work with the homeless ministry. They would make bags of food that they would take downtown and give to the homeless. Other friends would serve with the after school program once a week to help tutor kids from Cabrini Green, a public housing project on Chicago's north side. We would take the "L" downtown and see several people begging for money, both adults and little children. Each time confronted with a burden to do something to help.
In a recent study, the Barna Group noted the growing interest in community service and justice as one of the six "mega themes" that is rapidly changing the landscape of the Church in the United States. As previous generations were dedicated to putting the gospel into words, the current generation is putting it into their walk, marked by justice and social action. This is not only evident in statistics, but in the rise of short-term mission trips, holistic serving projects, and even daily choices young people are making to purchase fair trade products. The fact that young men and women believe that all of life is important to God not just the parts we might call "spiritual" is something we should celebrate. This could be a sign that the Spirit is at work.
As we find ourselves in the midst of God's great story of redemption we have an opportunity to be His ambassadors. In a perfect world, we would only have the responsibilities of worshiping God and caring for his creation. But in a fallen world, humanity takes up the task of reconciling the wrongs humans committed against each other, by using evangelism, social justice and repairing the rift between humanity and its creator.
As one of my Old Testament Professors Boaz Johnson said, [Let us remember that] "Compassion, Mercy and Justice are not just 'doing' virtues. They are 'being' virtues. They flow out of a community who constantly and rigorously seek to be in Messiah Jesus." (Galatians 5, Ephesians 5)
When we view life through this redemptive lens, it becomes clear that evangelism and social action are inseparable aspects of the churches mission in our world.