A rookie police officer was assigned to ride in a cruiser with an experienced partner. A call came over the car’s radio telling them to disperse some people who were loitering. The officers drove to the street and observed a small crowd standing on a corner. The rookie rolled down his window and said, “Let’s get off the corner.” No one moved, so he barked again, “Let’s get off the corner!” Intimidated, the group of people began to leave, casting puzzled glances in his direction. Proud of his first official act, the young policeman turned to his partner and asked, “Well, how did I do?” “Pretty good,” replied the veteran, “especially since this was a bus stop.”
LET'S PRAY TOGETHER Lord, let our souls rise up to meet you as the day rises to meet the sun. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Father, we lift up Argentina, Egypt, Luxembourg, Singapore, and Malaysia and our brothers and sisters in Christ in these countries. Today we ask for wisdom to serve you well, to give grace to the undeserving, and care for the needy. Show us what it means to be Your people today. May the peace of the Lord Christ go with us: wherever He may send us; may You guide us through the wilderness: protect us through the storm; may You bring us home rejoicing: at the wonders You have shown us; may You bring us home rejoicing once again into our doors. Amen MEDITATION “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8) Let’s continue to marinate on the images that we saw in the Bible Project video on justice (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A14THPoc4-4). So we live in a broken world, vandalized and marred by sin, and humanity has strayed from God’s image and instead put ourselves and our desires on a pedestal to be worshiped. Everywhere we turn we see evidence of this from the church sex abuse scandal to the Black Lives Matter movement; the whole world cries out for justice. The Hebrew word for justice is mishpat which can refer to “retributive justice” such as a thief going to jail. But in the Bible it more often refers to “restorative justice”. So what is “restorative justice”? It means finding those who have been taken advantage of and fixing it, taking steps to advocate for the vulnerable, and changing social structures to prevent injustice.* In the world today, we often find ourselves raging against “bad people” and hoping they “get theirs”. We look out on a world full of injustice and want someone, anyone, to fix it. Biblically, though we are empowered to be agents to change. While we keep one eye on the BIG problems “out there”, we are to focus on what we can do right here to bring about justice. There are so many places where we as followers of Jesus can embrace mishpat. First let’s ask ourselves, who are the vulnerable? Who in our community are taken advantage of? Is it the elderly? Is it our youth? Is it those living below poverty level? Is it addicts stuck in self-destructive cycle? Is it immigrants? Who can’t advocate for themselves? And then what can we do? Is it simply being kind? Treating unloved and unlovely people with a smile and learning their name? Is it offering to be a listening ear? Is it seeking a change? Is it volunteering to help? This is where we as Christians have a resource we often overlook; God and His Holy Spirit. Why not ask God to open your eyes to see the people and situations that break His heart? Why not ask for wisdom about when, where and what to do? Why not reach out to other Christians, share your concerns and pray with them about the situation? And then live, ready to act, knowing that God will prompt you through the power of the Holy Spirit.
-nicole * from the Bible Project video on Justice
DAILY SCRIPTURE READING Our daily scripture reading comes from the following link… http://listenersbible.com/devotionals/biy/ If you have any insights into our daily readings, please feel free to share them with me. I would encourage you to visit https://bibleproject.com/explore/ecclesiastes/ for an overview of Ecclesiastes and https://bibleproject.com/explore/1-corinthians/ for an overview of Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth. These videos will help with the “big picture” and the main themes. Ecclesiastes 4:1-6:12 Solomon seems like a glass “half-empty” kind of guy. The beginning of verse 4:8 stands in contrast to the beginning of verse 4:9. What is the difference? In the midst of toil, what does Solomon point out here that we should pay attention to? At the end of the day, what adds value to ones life? Once again we find a gift from God. What is it? (5:19) 1 Corinthians 7:17-35 What is Paul’s goal as he approaches this discussion about marriage? (32-35) Paul is working under an assumption. “…this world in its present form is passing away.” The time is short, he will say. Therefore everything we do, is done in devotion to God. What do you think about this idea? Proverbs 19:23-20:4 Throughout proverbs, Solomon will compare the wise to the foolish. In his view, which one is able to change?