Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Faith & Justice

1Corinthians 6:1  When any of you has a grievance against another, do you dare to take it to court before the unrighteous, instead of taking it before the saints? 2  Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3  Do you not know that we are to judge angels--to say nothing of ordinary matters? 4  If you have ordinary cases, then, do you appoint as judges those who have no standing in the church? 5  I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to decide between one believer and another, 6  but a believer goes to court against a believer--and before unbelievers at that? 7  In fact, to have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? 8  But you yourselves wrong and defraud--and believers at that. 9  Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, 10  thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers--none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.

The Jesus people in Corinth are urged to live in a way that is different from their society. While the world might solve its grievances though the courts, the followers of Jesus are urged to develop conflict-resolution systems within their Christian community. The issue at the heart of this letter is not a lack of trust in human legal systems. Rather – it is driven the vision of a community that works hard at resolving conflict in ways that lead to healthy relationships.

Our Christian faith can model healthy ways of conflict-resolution that leads to just and loving communities. But this asks us to live with a determined commitment to integrity, compassion and justice.

Challenge for the day: to treat other people with the same dignity and justice that we desire for ourselves.

For the healing of the nations,
Lord, we pray with one accord,
for a just and equal sharing
of the things that earth affords.
To a life of love in action
help us rise and pledge our word.

Lead us forward into freedom,
from despair your world release,
that, redeemed from war and hatred,
all may come and go in peace.
Show us how through care and goodness
fear will die and hope increase.
Words: Fred Kaan © 1968 by Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL 60188. 

Seventh  Sunday of Easter
Life Together
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Rueben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 178.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.

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