and Social Holiness
What is justice in society today? The word itself evokes different
images for different peopleódifferent connotations for different
contexts. Justice in the western context of a nation state might
immediately bring to mind a justice system, which is to provide law
and order, to right wrongs, and to maintain peace. Justice in
a dictatorship might evoke fear and corruption. Justice in a
society torn apart by genocide might evoke no image at all.
The texts of Luke 4:18-19 and Isaiah 61:1-2 provide a unity between the
Old and New Testaments inviting us to see the under flowing current
of justice that becomes the very heartbeat of the story of God, as
well as the task of the Church as the people of God. God in Jesus
Christ ushered in the justice of the kingdom promising a new
historical reality. ...
This justice restructures life in such a way that human relationships and
interaction promote sustainable and holistic living, rather than
lives drained by consumption and fragmentation. This identity,
purpose, and task in Christ form both an everyday and cosmological
mission, as well as a personal and social responsibility. This new
historical reality is about the restorative justice of God that
re-claims a true freedom that has been lost in western contemporary
society. This holistic and restorative justice is what the people of
God are to be about. ...
themes of which Jesus speaks in chapter four are not alone in the
Gospel of Luke. The gospel writer threads this theme of Godís
purposes to bring salvation to the world through Jesus throughout
the entire gospel. It is a prophetic message that recapitulated
language and symbols of which a Jewish audience would have been
verse 18 we find that Jesus has been anointed to preach good news to
the poor. The notion of being poor in first century Palestine is not
limited to the kind of economic destitution that it connotes today.
4 Rather, poor was understood in a holistic
sense of which various social factors contributed. The poor
are those literally marginalized in society based on their class,
race, gender, family heritage, religious purity, social standing,
and economics. ...
Jesus mission was not to extend a wise teaching or to make people think
about justice, but to change their lives. In embodying this
changeóthis repentance (metanoia)ófollowers of Christ
are to reflect Godís reordered reality on earth. Disciples
are instructed to pray for the kingdom come (Luke 11:2).
Living the ethics of this kingdom is no easy task, but requires
radical transformation. ...
Here one finds Godís kingdom characterized by a transformational and
restorative justice that is characterized in preaching good news to
the poor; releasing those enslaved and oppressed in their poverty,
rejection, and disability; healing the blind; and ushering in the
year of the Lordís favor. The people of God are guided not by
their own initiative, but by the initiative of the Lord. ...
present context, the Church must allow itself to be converted to
this restorative justice. This requires a restructuring of mentality
from freedom of individualized choice to release for the other.
The Church is not divorced from the world, but must be a prophetic
voice that speaks to and embodies the true reality of God. ...
Excerpts from paper"Reclaiming the Restorative Justice and True
by Nell Becker Sweeden, the first. recipient of the Tom Nees Social.
Justice Award. She
is now Asst to the Director of Nazarene Compasionate Minstries