What position in curling would Jesus say is the most righteous? The answer should be obvious: it is the Lead…because Jesus invites those without sin to cast the first stone!
That scripture, minus the curling joke, was used during the worship at a week-long set of meetings I’ve been attending for The United Church of Canada (UCC). The UCC has a strategic plan in which one aspect focuses on “daring justice.” This scripture was used as a part of this daring justice theme.
I found it was very powerful how the worship leader talked about not just the justice piece but also the daring piece of the ways in which we have to challenge the systems at play to achieve justice for people.
Later in that same day I was in another conversation, that minister commented how he has people all the time tell him how they want to hear him preach the gospel. They don’t want to hear him always talking about this issue or that issue (insert whatever justice issue you want in those spaces), but they want to hear the gospel. Well, I’ve got news for you, the gospel is all about justice issues.
Some of the justice issues that Jesus was dealing with are different than the ones we have today … a lot, unfortunately, are the same.
If you remember from the scripture that my curling joke comes from, it is only the woman who is brought forth on accusation of adultery…and the last time I checked it was pretty hard to commit adultery just on your own. Jesus was standing up for gender-based justice … and we still have to do that today.
Jesus’ ministry was not to those who had power; he ministered to those on the margins. Those without power, without status. His whole ministry was one of showing that God’s love was for everyone no matter your gender, your race, your class, your wealth, your job, your age. The idea of “preaching the gospel,” is talking about caring for others, is about making the last first, about loving your enemy and treating your neighbour how you wish to be treated. It is actually really hard to preach about Jesus’ live and work and not go down the daring justice path. It is how he lived, how he taught others to live.
It is actually really easy to relate the stories of the gospel into today’s context, because unfortunately we still have poverty, we still have oppression, we still have people being treated as other. As a Christian, I am finding more and more that I don’t need to preach the gospel, I need to live it, and that just might mean I need to dare myself and others to work for justice in every aspect of our lives.
By Mark Laird
DM Drayton United Church