My friend and colleague Kristen Johnson has co-authored a wonderful new book entitled The Justice Calling: Where Passion Meets Perserverance (with Bethany Hoang). The book has been endorsed by a broad array of great folks – Mark Labberton, Brenda Salter McNeill, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Dan Allender, and more. What I love, particularly as someone passionate about forming young Christians with theological and biblical resources for sustainable ministry, is that Kristen and Bethany root our calling to justice in the big story of Scripture. We live in an urgent moment, and it has perhaps never been more important to have a mind for justice considering brutal racial violence, a dysfunctional criminal justice system, sinister and predatorial international child kidnappers like Boko Haram, a worldwide refugee crisis, and so much more. Please read this excerpt and then click the link below to buy this important book.
Mala was trafficked into one of the most brutal brothels that International Justice Mission (IJM) had ever encountered. The lead trafficker was powerful, wealthy, and deeply connected to a wide network of other traffickers in the underground world of profit for rape. He stopped at nothing to keep the girls in his brothel under his power. Mala and the other girls worked around the clock, raped by ten to twenty men every day.
What hope could we possibly hold on to for Mala? Where do we even begin to look for hope in the face of what she suffers?
And what about Mala’s trafficker? What hope could we possibly hold for him?
Why can we hope in the midst of brutal injustice? Because the story is not over yet. Because we serve a God who in Christ has entered into this broken world and conquered sin and evil, who reigns with justice and righteousness, and who will not rest until his kingdom has finally and fully come to this earth.
This is not a cheap hope; our hope is often broken, bloodstained, and costly as was Christ’s sacrifice on the tree at Golgotha. This is not a trite hope; in the midst of hope we still need to acknowledge and lament the places in this world that fall short of God’s kingdom vision.
One of the central ways that God forms us into a people of persevering hope is through worship. Worship nourishes and forms us through the work of the Holy Spirit. Through worship we can be shaped into people who share God’s kingdom vision. The Eucharist is perhaps the component of worship that most deeply forms us into people who live with persevering hope.
In the communion liturgy of the church that I (Kristen) worship in, we describe the Lord’s Supper as a feast of remembrance, communion, and hope. Through this meal, God helps us to remember what Christ has done by offering himself in our place as the Passover Lamb so we might be freed from our slavery to sin and become God’s holy people, living the way of justice and righteousness. God enables us to commune with God and one another, receiving the reconciliation that Jesus Christ made possible so that we can live as beloved children of God, united with God and one another.
And God shapes us into people of hope as we receive a glimpse of the abundant feasts all will enjoy and of the fully reconciled relationships that all will experience in the new age, when all will be set right. As we are sent back into the world after receiving the Eucharist together, we do so with Spirit-shaped kingdom vision for who we are and what creation as a whole is to be. God uses this vision to strengthen us to move into this world and its messy and broken places; to be formed into the people of God by the Spirit is to be formed into a justice-seeking people.
Excerpt from, The Justice Calling: Where Passion Meets Perseverance, written by Bethany Hanke Hoang (@bethanyhoang) and Kristen Deede Johnson (@kdjtheologian).
To download a free sample chapter, visit http://www.thejusticecallingbook.com/