Social Justice and Equality

The second Sunday in July is traditionally Sea Sunday, if you’d like a devotional with this theme you can click here. Otherwise, I’m focussing on today’s Lectionary Bible readings that centre on social justice and equality.

Amos 7:7-17 stresses the importance being upright, straight, and true: Look, I am setting a plumb-line among my people.

Psalm 82 is a challenge to social justice: ‘How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

Colossians 1:1-14 is a wide ranging passage, but urges God’s people to bear fruit in every good work and grow in the knowledge of God.

The final reading is Luke 10:25-37: The Good Samaritan. The truth about this parable of Jesus is that the Samaritans were hated by the Jews at the time.

So in a lovely twist, Jesus makes the Samaritan the hero of the story to show the religious leaders that he just did naturally what they found excuses not to do. Hate is a dangerous thing.

We help people because it’s basic to our humanity, it’s the right thing to do. This we can agree with humanists, agnostics and atheists. Indeed, they often say their motives are purer than ours.

As Christians, we also help people because God demonstrated his love for humanity through Jesus. Jesus cared for people, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually – in other words, Christians need to be like Jesus, simple.

Who are those who are ‘hated’ today? Who are those who are looked down on and despised? Who are the marginalised people? What do we think about immigrants? Who are excluded by the church? What is our attitude to LGBTQ+ people? How do we treat those who are not ‘like’ us?

God’s love is for all, it’s boundless. Human love should reach across our self-imposed discrimination and prejudice. How will this affect the way you respond to others this week?

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