Why do I care about social justice?

This is a big topic and surely won’t be covered in one blog. This weekend I have been preparing a presentation for a Social Work class at Calvin College. I will be addressing how our Reformed Faith shapes our view of Social Justice in the field of Social Work.

As I discussed this with my Dad, he mentioned Isaiah 61 as a biblical foundation for the Reformed view of social justice. I am sure I have read Isaiah 61 before, but as my niece Karolyn and I contemplated this yesterday, Isaiah 61 feels bright and refreshing to both of us. I can feel my spirit soar as I read the clarity and mandate of Scripture.

“the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,

because the Lord has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim freedom for the captives. . .

to comfort all who mourn,

and provide for those who grieve in Zion—

to bestow on them a crown of beauty

instead of ashes,

the oil of joy

instead of mourning,

and a garment of praise

instead of a spirit of despair. . .

For I, the Lord, love justice.”

I don’t believe anymore needs to be said!

May we move forward and live out the invitation/mandate that has been given to us!

Anyone willing to join me?

socialjustice.jog

My Friend Tim

Let me tell you a bit about Tim. He is one-of-a-kind. When I became an Elder at my Church Tim was in my district. I will nFullSizeRender-1.jpegever forget the first time we met for breakfast. He introduced me to everyone who worked at McDonald’s and everyone who was eating at McDonald’s as his Elder. As we sat down I asked him who each person was, and he quickly told me he had no idea who each person was, but he was happy they knew who I was.

For the last almost 3 years we have had breakfast regularly. Tim is always delighted when I recommend we meet, and if Tim thinks it is about time we plan a meal, he is quick to remind me and suggest the day and time. He will often offer to pay, and then add, if I had any money! I assure him it is my treat, he will then order an extra hash brown. Tim has watched me pay with Apple Pay each time we go out together, so when I gave him a phone for his birthday two years ago, he said he would eat at McDonald’s every day now. I had to do a little explaining about how my phone worked when it came to buying things. 🙂

Tim has an incredible memory for people and knows about everyone at our Church. He IMG_1086is social and enjoys most any invitation extended to him. He is not always polite about when he belches and is not very skilled at having a conversation, but he will often make me smile. When Tim feels threatened or caught he will most often begin to talk about how much he misses his parents, who have both died. I try to remember to ask him something about his parents or brothers each week since he still loves to speak about them.

 

Tim’s favorite two topics to discuss are how much he weighs and how strong he is. He loves to flex his arms and impress whoever cares to notice. In every conversation, he declares his weight to me, but I recently discovered he doesn’t own a scale. Now I understand how he has such large weight fluctuation. Football is his favorite sport, and he follows the professional teams and makes confident projections about who will win. He also loves music and can name most any song and artist.

IMG_1484I hosted a birthday party for Tim this past year, and this morning he suggested we begin to plan for his next birthday, which is not until September. He already knows what he is wearing and wondered when we should send invites. I reminded him we just got finished with the thank you notes, not too long ago. Those were not his favorite, but he does love knowing everyone has a picture of him on their fridge.

I always enjoy when Tim prays at breakfast, and I see through fresh eyes again how his faith expression is a sign of his abundant but simple faith. Tomorrow I will be privileged to serve Tim communion, and when I say to him, the blood of Christ, shed for you Tim, he will look at me and say you know it, and I do too, His blood isFullSizeRender.jpeg for me without a doubt. It is almost like he wants to end it with a high five! It took me a few weeks to appreciate Tim’s confident expression of gratitude during communion. I wondered if I should “reign him in,” but I have learned that part of loving Tim is giving him the space to be his unique self and to enjoy him for who he is.

Tim calls me daily, and if I am not able to answer he will say, I just want you to know I am doing ok. Tim longs to be known, cared for, loved and pursued. His mind may be simple, but his heart is tender and longing. If you happen to know Tim, I hope you will consider loving him by inviting him to dinner or taking him out to breakfast or lunch. If you don’t know Tim, I wonder if you know someone like Tim. Consider inviting “your Tim” out to breakfast or lunch or over for a shared meal. Be amazed at the way that God uses all people to reveal his glory!

Thank you, Tim, for being my friend! I am ever grateful!d2d159a7-1986-4944-b26d-ce821360d3cf.jpeg