The Social Justice Demands of Prayer

Luke 11:1-13 NLT

1     Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

2     Jesus said, “This is how you should pray: “Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon.

3     Give us each day the food we need,

4     and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation.”

5     Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him,

6     ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’

7     And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’

8     But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.

9     “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

10   For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

11   “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead?

12   Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not!

13   So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

Luke 18:1-8 NLT

1     One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.

2     “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people.

3     A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’

4     The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people,

5     but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”

6     Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge.

7     Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?

8     I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”

Philippians 3:8-9 MSG

8       Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ

9       and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.

  1. The Requirement of Justice

Luke 20:45-47 NLT45 Then, with the crowds listening, he turned to his disciples and said, 46 “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. 47 Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be severely punished.”

(Lk. 18:3, 5, 7, 8 – highlight justice for this area)

The man at midnight is seeking distributive justice.

Proverbs 31:8-9 MSG8 “Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers. 9 Speak out for justice! Stand up for the poor and destitute!”

Desperation creates desperados.

Political perspectives:

  1. Maldistribution
  2. Redistribution

Luke 16:19-31 NLT19 Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. 20 At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. 21 As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores. 22 “Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and his soul went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side. 24 “The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’ 25 “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’ 27 “Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. 28 For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’ 29 “But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’ 30 “The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’ 31 “But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.’”

The widow is seeking reparative justice.

Image

Narratives

Jim/Jane Crow

Urban renewal

Slavery

Terrorism

Incarceration

Cops and Courts

Exclusion

II. The Response to Justice

The neighbor sought to explain away the man’s justice claim.

The judge sought to ignore away the woman’s justice claim.

America is not color blind; America is history blind.

Historical blindness makes us justice blind.

The radical paradigm in America is White domination, Black subordination.

III. The Results of Justice

Justice is always something tangible.

“The system and politics responds to pressure not applause.”

Yvette Carnell

Diversity

Equity

Inclusion

Capitalization

Empowerment

Exodus 21:1-6 NLT1 “These are the regulations you must present to Israel. 2 “If you buy a Hebrew slave, he may serve for no more than six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. 3 If he was single when he became your slave, he shall leave single. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife must be freed with him. 4 “If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave and they had sons or daughters, then only the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. 5 But the slave may declare, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children. I don’t want to go free.’ 6 If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door or doorpost and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will serve his master for life.

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