Southpoint News November 17, 2017
Let justice roll on like a river
The Faces of Grace: Justice
Justice in Old Testament prophetic literature was primarily a gift of grace – God’s activity – rather than a behavioural goal. Israel, having received this gift of divine justice, was called to let this gift flow freely within society. Israel was to become part of the flow of justice. However, it could also obstruct or dam the waters of justice. The prophets arose whenever God’s people got stuck in the status quo instead of letting justice flow. Justice is not an abstract idea or an issue to be discussed theoretically. If we want to participate in the Divine flow, we align our actions to the inner revelation of the Holy Spirit’s promptings and the outer revelation of God’s desires contained in scripture. Here are a few alignments that allow the divine flow of justice greater freedom in our lives:
Start with silence. Bonhoeffer was a pastor during the time of Nazi Germany. He watched in horror as the national church aligned itself with Hitler and colluded with the nationalism and militarism of the day. He spoke out against the false orthodoxy of the German Church: “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. “Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. “Let us be silent and listen for the noise of a truncated, distorted orthodoxy that makes us feel better without asking us to change.
Start with repentance. We resist God’s flow when we want to be comforted but don’t want to comfort. When we want to be provided for, but refuse to look out for the well-being of others. When we want to be served by others, but resist serving. When we are eager to save our wealth, but not eager to share our wealth. When we exert our rights, without honouring the rights of others. When we want to receive forgiveness without being willing to extend it. Let God’s justice remove the double standard that holds back the flow of justice in our hearts and lives. Let God’s grace and mercy wash us clean.
Start small. Notice when you are resistant to serving – are you tired? Overextended? Or just can’t be bothered and hope someone else will get to it first? Notice how you handle your mistakes: are you taking responsibility for them, or are you blame-shifting them onto others? Notice how you respond to small injustices around you: are you speaking up about things that go against your conscience, or are you staying quiet? On a recent CBC interview about the prevalence of sexual harassment against women, the point was made that men need to call other men out when they hear derogatory comments about women. In order for change to happen, it needs to become socially unacceptable among men to put down or harass women. Change starts in our daily interactions with others, with what we do and don’t do, what we own and what we deny, when we speak and when we stay silent.
Start negotiating. The city “gate”, the area inside the main entrance of the ancient walled city, was a public gathering place for all kinds of hearings and disputes. God was very interested in what happened “in the gate” because it was the place for negotiating for fairness. In our own relationship within the workplace, families, friendships, and neighbourhoods, disputes will arise. We can negotiate disputes, holding and valuing the well-being of all parties in tension. We can negotiate not for victory, but for fairness, with compassion, empathy, and justice.
Start advocating. Institutions easily become systemic obstructions to the flow of God’s justice. As demonstrated by the Me Too movement and the stories emerging from women in the entertainment industry, we’ve got a long way to go. Is the institution you work for advocating for the well-being of its workers? What about the stores we frequent, or the schools we attend, or the political parties we support? How can they do a better job promoting the well-being of people, places, and natural resources? We are a part of these systems – we can advocate for the “even better yet”?
Start redistributing. How can we free up possessions and money in our households to readdress the balance of wealth and power in the world? We’re committed sharing 10% of our Southpoint budget because we want to let God’s justice flow through our finances as a church. Teach your kids how to participate in the flow of justice through giving. You can give to Southpoint. Or you can choose an organization of your choice. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in your giving, listening for who and what you to support.
Pastor Anne Smith
Southpoint Staff Position: Community Engagement Facilitator
The leadership team will soon begin the search for a five hrs/week community engagement facilitator. We also are looking to fill some administrative needs currently unmet since Karin returned to school. There is some flexibility to craft the position/s around the availability and skills of the individual. If you are interested in one or both of these positions, would you be in communication with Brent and/or Anne?
Calling all photographers, crocheters, painters and other visual artists: we would love to have you help guide us into Advent. Contact Angela if you are interested in participating this way.
Winter Retreat Deadline: Southpoint at Camp Tulahead
Please fill out a registration form and submit by November 26, 2017 with the following funds: 50% due November 26, 2017, 50% due January 14, 2018. Costs: Adults – $150; Children ages 6-11 are $130; Children 5 and under are free. Meals will be provided: Friday snack; all meals Saturday; all meals Sunday; brunch on Monday. More information to come. Ifyou have any questions, please talk to Colin.
Lectio Divina with the Lectionary with Pastor Anne at her office at Third Space, #1 – 1381 George Street
Tuesday, November 21st Evening Lectio Divina Group at ingfisher Farm, 512 172 Street
Friday, November 24th 13+ Youth Group
Sunday, November 26th Sunday service ALL IN at 10:00 a.m. Preparing the Space for Advent” followed by POTLUCK for everyone. A huge thank you to Theresa and Brian’s Gathering Group for fixing soup for everyone. Please bring bread, baked goods, or other finger foods to share.
Sunday, December 3rd Advent Begins!
Sunday, December 3rd Junior Youth?12:00 – 1:30 pm
Friday, December 22nd Christmas Skating Party at 6:30 pm, Centennial Arena, White Rock