Righteousness and Justice – A Multigenerational Calling

 In Tori Smith

During prayer one morning at my last pastoral appointment, the word synergy came to mind. Since I didn’t know what that word meant, and had no context to put it in, I thought the word must have come from God. The first thing I did was grab a dictionary…yes this was back in the day when you couldn’t conveniently ask Siri for a definition. The dictionary said that synergy was – “the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.” In the context of the time I understood that God was saying that together as a body, the church that I was serving at could get greater things done if we worked together. That meant two things for our church – 1. I couldn’t do it alone. 2. Unity of vision and purpose was needed.

This week the word synergy has come back, but this time set within a bigger context. This time, it’s been set within the context of Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” This time the word synergy has taken on the meaning of partnering with that great cloud of witnesses that have run their race and now watches over us – but who may not have accomplished all that they visioned God was calling them to. Let me state that another way.

Throughout history, God has been casting visions in which He desires His people to engage. But sometimes those visions are not completed within one lifetime. The work that God was calling them to, began in one generation. The intent was that the next generation would partner with the previous and carry on the work that needed to be done. This month is Black History month. As I think about it and think about it in the context of scripture, I think this is one of those multigenerational callings that we need to pay attention to.

Think about it. Martin Luther King had a calling; he had a vision. Most of us think of it when we remember his great speech – “I Have A Dream.” We hear the calling, the vision from God. And we know in scripture that God has cast the vision to be universal. From Micah 6:8 we read, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Righteousness and Justice, in my opinion, are generational issues that each generation needs to work on, not to start the work all over again, but to build on what the previous generation was able to accomplish.

Here is our dilemma. I believe, myself included, that we get sidetracked by all kinds of trivial issues and forget about the bigger picture of what God is calling us to. That bigger picture? That all people would have access to God’s righteousness and justice. Isn’t that what Jesus was talking about when He said; “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.”?

God has a bigger picture of life for all of us. It’s a picture of all people living in the abundance of life that only Christ can grant. It’s an abundance of freedom, peace, hope, purpose, healing. It’s obvious that we aren’t there yet and maybe it’s obvious that the body Of Christ has gotten sidetracked with some trivia – especially during this time of isolation and separation. But it’s not too late, there is still time for us to take our place in the arena and run the race well in our time.

So synergy – working together with the vision and calling of those who have gone on before us to accomplish the work that still needs to be done here on earth. In a world that so desperately needs the body of Christ to rise up with a voice and a purpose, we need to think beyond ourselves and live into the calling to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.

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