When it comes to social justice, Isaiah said, “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet” (Isaiah 58:1). I’m not much of a shouter. When my team scores at a football or baseball game I’m more inclined to smile than to shout. But, Isaiah insisted, when it comes to poverty, hunger, nakedness, shelter and the “yoke of oppression” it is time to shout for justice.
As a pastor I recently preached three weekends on Micah 6:8, “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
When studying the text and researching what early Christians wrote, I read the words of Ambrose (4th Century church leader and theologian): “There is your brother, naked and crying! And you stand confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering?” And, Basil (4th Century bishop): “The bread you do not use is the bread of the hungry. The garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of the naked. The shoes you do not wear are the shoes of one who is barefoot. The money you keep locked away is the money of the poor.”
But, we live in the 21st Century not the 4th Century. That drew my mind and sermon to the injustices of a Pennsylvania judge who sentenced juveniles with minor convictions to a private prison so he could receive over $1 million in kickbacks, to tens of thousands of inmates unjustly suffering rape that is not part of their sentences, and to children who unjustly go to schools but never learn to read and write.
In Jesus’ name, let us Christians shout for justice.
This article originally appeared in the NAE Insight.