As we here at Oddwalk continue along our journey of more intentional blogging, it’s my (Orin’s) turn to share a bit about the second word of our tagline, “Justice.”
Though that tag line has only accompanied us for some 16 or so months now, justice has always been an important piece of who we are and the Gospel we try to share: from our service with the Young Neighbors in Action work camps to the fair-trade merchandise we offer, the dignity and worth of the human person is always front of mind.
At the retreats with young people we lead, we define that Christian dignity pretty simply: a worth that is there because each person is made in the image and likeness of God. This is different than any more secular humanism, this is about faith — God made you, God made me. Once aware of this, once we train ourselves to notice that about one another, our actions and words must become very different; how we view others and ourselves must change.
This was in fact the “Calling card” of the earliest Christians, the way that others knew they were on Christ’s way. Tertullian, who lived in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, noticed that the Romans would describe Christians by saying, “See how they love one another!” Justin Martyr, around that same time, described Christian love this way: “We who used to value the acquisition of wealth and possessions more than anything else now bring what we have into a common fund and share it with anyone who needs it. We used to hate and destroy one another and refused to associate with people of another race or country. Now, because of Christ, we live together with such people and pray for our enemies.”
It’s not hard, at least for me, to see that some people, claiming the Christian title, fail to live up to this kind of standard of what it means to live – to love – as an adopted child of God. Of course we all have shortcomings of one kind or another — “Pardon me while I attempt to get this plank out of my eye,” said the black-hued pot. Still, my question to you, and for myself, this week is: would someone watching your daily life be able to know you were a Christian? Would someone watching your or my life notice how you or I love our spouses, our neighbors, our enemies — even people we’ve never met?
Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ (Matthew 25:44-45)
For more, check out our Helping Verbs video!