posted on April 01, 2020
Guiding Light for All People
By Ben Lasley
This Lenten season, I have seen division, fear, and hatred not only in Philadelphia, but throughout our country and the world. Nations and peoples turning against each other, fractured by theology and ideology, clashing on all the differences we may or may not have. All the while our economic, political, and social systems perpetuate daily injustices. We see our Creator’s beloved oppressed because of their nationality, gender, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, and age; traits that God upholds with love.
Matthew 18:14 states “In the same way your God in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish”, we here on earth cannot take this verse for granted. We cannot let anyone be oppressed or cast out because they may be different than others around them, that they may act, live, look, or love differently than the majority. We see that the city of Philadelphia incarcerates black and brown men at four times the national average, destroying lives and futures of our family, friends, and neighbors. The Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery, the largest refinery on the East Coast, exploded last summer, spewing dangerous chemicals into South Philly, endangering South Philly and the environment. These injustices must be counteracted by radical service and action, for all of creation to live in equity and love. Such as the Shepard finds and loves the one sheep, we must treasure and advocate for every person singled out.
At our baptisms, we are asked to renounce the forces of evil, and resist evil, injustice, and oppression whatever forms they may present themselves, confessing Christ as our savior. This Lenten season let us act in radical love, radical discipleship, radical service, and radical inclusion to love and pursue justice for all people, but especially those marginalized by the world and church to this day; LGBTQIA+, women, people of color, and differently abled.
Justice is constant, ever flowing outward and inward, like the oceans around us, uniting and providing for all. Justice is the roots and the branches of trees, always growing and expanding, providing nourishment for all realms of the tree. This Lenten season, let us lean into loving all creation, fighting for the rights of all creation, and bringing forth justice for everyone here on Mother Earth. As it has been written in Micah 6:8, “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly[a] with your God.“
Let us be lights, to cast out the darkness, and take part in our Creator’s kindom for everyone.
Ben Lasley is a Global Mission Fellow with the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, engaged in a two-year term of service. Commissioned in August 2019, Benjamin currently works at Arch Street United Methodist Church as a Community Organizer and Education Coordinator in urban food networks. Arch Street UMC is a Justice Seeking Community.