Pursuing Justice

Pursuing Justice
Rule of Life, Week 14
Adam White

We will pursue peace with justice
     -From the
MWF Rule of Life

If you could live at anytime in history, when and where would it be? Who would you want to see? What would you do? Why?

As a once-student-of-history, these are the questions I still find time to dream about. Me? What period of time and location in history would I want to visit? Be careful asking that--this newsletter is supposed to be short!

If I could live at anytime and anywhere in history, it would be during the rise of the Methodist Movement in eighteenth century England. Who would I want to see? John Wesley of course!!! You see, I would want to be there assisting Mr. Wesley.

Why would I want to live during the rise of this movement? The reason has to do with the sincerity of purpose that the Methodist Movement had in bringing about justice for people who were in need. As profound as it would be to hear good ol’ John preach in the open air to a sea of thousands of people or to hear his brother Charles lead one of the eight thousand hymns he wrote in person, as amazing as all that would be, it was the sincere drive for pursuing justice that made me fall in love with the Methodist Movement.

What I find most fascinating about John Wesley is how his intentional purpose to love God by serving others who were in need never left him. Even in the last stages of his life, Wesley didn’t stop pursuing justice for others around him. Read what he wrote in 1787 in his journal at age eighty-four:

“On Monday, and the four following days, I went a begging for the poor. I hoped to be able to provide food and [clothing for those in our community] who were in pressing want, yet had no weekly allowance: These were about two hundred: But I was much disappointed. Six or seven, indeed, of our brethren gave ten pounds apiece. If forty or fifty had done this, I could have carried my design into execution. However, much good was done with two hundred pounds, and many sorrowful hearts made glad.” 1

Wow. Picture this scene with me, of an eighty-four-year-old John Wesley running from house to house, asking for food and clothing for those whom he knew needed it most. Over 230 years later, we are called to do the same as Mr. Wesley. We are called to persistently find ways to pursue justice by loving one another.

This is the kind of witness that God invites each of us to pursue in community, which can be difficult to find. As a culture, we struggle with loving others holistically. Loving others in this way is hard. It is much easier to go on a weeklong trip to build a building, or to bring used clothes to the church, or to simply give money, and those are meaningful steps in starting a journey towards justice. 2

One of the reasons Wesley was so committed to helping people was because he intimately knew their stories, their struggles, their hopes, and their faith. As followers of Christ we are called to pursue justice, and justice requires that we share every part of our lives with one another so that our stories can become one. When our stories become one, our struggles become one. Our hopes become one. And our faith becomes one.

Invitation to Missional Mindfulness:

  • What figures in history, or in the present, do you look to as witnesses who continually pursue justice?

  • Who around you in your community would you like to get to know better, as a means of pursuing justice?

[1] The Works of John Wesley, ed. W. Reginald Ward, vol. XXIV (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2003), 2.
[2] Adapted from Larry DugginsSimple Harmony, (Larry Duggins, 2012). 

The Missional Wisdom Foundation Rule of Life

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