Justice for All

I am participating in this month’s synchroblog (a blog where numerous bloggers blog on the same topic) which can be found at http://synchroblog.wordpress.com. This month’s synchroblog topic is “Gay Marriage.” I respectfully post knowing that we all are not going to agree, but this is how I feel and is not necessarily the views of my place of employment.

I just returned from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) National Youth Gathering which was held in Detroit, Michigan. 30,000 Youth and adults converged on the city of Detroit as we heard their stories and served their community. We also heard wonderful speakers that helped us learn what it means to proclaim justice, build bridges and offer hope to all of God’s people.

The seven youth along with all of the youth gathered continually gave me hope for the future. They want to make a difference. They want to show God’s love to all of God’s people. They want to proclaim justice. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, justice is defined as “the quality of being just, impartial, or fair.”
So, my friends, what is fair? To them, fair is showing equality to all of God’s people even those that our different than us.

As I look at our society, I cannot help but think about how we all could use a lesson in marriage and relationships. Statistics show that the divorce rate is high. And many members of society are getting married way to young. Yet so many think it is wrong for two men or two women to get married. If these two can provide a stable home and show love to a child, do they too not deserve the same rights as a married heterosexual couple? I have a friend who is in a committed same sex relationship and has a son with her spouse. All I have ever seen is them show love to their child.

I realize that we all come down on both sides of this issue. Yet, my friends, Jesus was the one who was continually showing love to all of God’s people. Jesus was never afraid to turn the world upside down and sit and break bread with tax collectors and sinners. In a post I wrote in May of 2013 here after Minnesota passed the Freedom to marry act, I shared these words: “I don’t know what Jesus will say when we all get to heaven, but what I do know is Jesus always chose love. Jesus was always the one crossing the line onto the other side. Yet I know there are people hurting tonight because of this decision…people who don’t understand. I keep coming back to Jesus’ words that night in the upper room…’that they all may be one.’ Jesus spoke these words to his disciples that last night in the upper room even though they were far from being one themselves.” (To read that post, click here: That They All May Be One)
The truth is that we are not always going to agree with each other. Yet Jesus calls us to cling to the promise that we all may be one…trusting in this One who calls us to put our differences aside and calls us to proclaim justice to all of God’s people. In all actuality, I find myself clinging to the promises of our youth who are continually ready and willing to rise up together, to proclaim justice, offer hope and build bridges with all of God’s people.
 Their actions remind me that the church is not dead, but rather is a living breathing church that is ready to shower the world with God’s love putting aside their differences and fighting for what is right. They are always ready to proclaim justice and build bridges with God’s people despite their differences. Thanks be to God for a generation that isn’t afraid to stand together and live out the words that Jesus said in the upper room that night “that we all may be one.” And as one community in Christ, we are called to “Rise up together.”

Read other synchrobloggers here: (You will find varying opinions on this topic. Be kind!)

* Justin Steckbauer: Gay Marriage, LGBTQ Issues, and the Christian Worldview
* Leah Sophia: Marriage Equality Again
* Tony Ijeh: Thoughts on Gay Marriage
* Tim Nichols: Imago Dei: Loving the Different
* Carlos Shelton: About Gay Marriage
* Wesley Rostoll: Some Things to Consider Regarding Gay Marriage

* KW Leslie: Same Sex Marriage

Ten Plus…..

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Ten.” Write for five minutes; unedited.

On July 12, I began a trek with seven youth and another adult for the ELCA National Youth Gathering. We traveled with 138 other youth and adults on three buses. Our trip was a full ten day trip from beginning to end, but the main purpose for our trip was the National Youth Gathering which is held every three years.

This year’s gathering was held in Detroit Michigan. The last two gatherings were held in New Orleans as we helped residents pick up and clean up from Hurricane Katrina. 30,000 youth and adults (yep way more than ten) gathered every night in Ford Field to worship with the entire body of Christ gathered there in that place. We also listened to amazing awesome speakers who talked about social justice, racism, and making a difference in our communities. Together we learned what it means to Rise Up together; to rise up and spread God’s love throughout the world and especially to the city of Detroit as we were gathered there.

Each day 10,000 youth and adults went out to engage in service projects. There were two launch groups; one at 8:15 am and another one at 10:15 am. We were in the second launch group on Saturday. Our group went to work for an organization called O’Hair Park Community Association (Learn more here: O’Hair Park) We helped them trim branches along a service road.* It was a hot humid day, but the youth never complained. They were kind, courteous, and listened intently to the stories of the Detroiters who were gathered there with us. And they worked HARD!

Every night we worshiped together and heard from wonderful speakers who reminded us of the power of “where two or three are gathered in his name.” The youth came out each night full of vigor and power and ready to conquer the world. They came away knowing that they can make a difference. They learned what it means to proclaim justice, build bridges, and offer hope. They raised over 400,000 for ELCA World Hunger and the Walk for Water. We are waiting on numbers for how many heads of hair were donated and how many pints of blood were donated.

These youth give me hope for the future. In a world that continually often thinks that our church is dying, I don’t see that at all. I see a church that is full of life; that isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty and fight for what is right. I see a church that understands that all of our stories matter. I see a church that is all about action and not just words. I see a church that is ready to Rise Up together.

And in light of today’s prompt I had to share this Top Ten List that a woman (Kathy Schaeffer) shared on an ELCA Youth Ministry Network FB page today. It is so much fun and captures the gathering so well. Enjoy my friends! 10–Want to walk everywhere; 9-Keep asking people, “Where are you from?”; 8-Have uncontrollable smiling; 7-Shout out “Jesus is” until you finally say, “Good News”; 6-Unfazed by rain! Just pull out a rain slicker and say, “Let’s go!”; 5-Keep clipping “God Loves You” clothespins on people!; 4-Helping people everywhere! (Called the local food bank, Habitat for Humanity and Literacy council all in one day!); 3-Want family members to wear the same colored t-shirts!; 2-Try and high 5 everyone they pass by!; 1-Talk about going to church early this week in order to get a seat “on the floor” and up front.)

*This is where my five minutes ended.