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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Justice and the Early Church

Changing history of relationships

This year I’ve sought to direct our attention to some of the actual, real-life influences that possibly helped shape the actual, real-life consciousness of Jesus. My focus has been the justice content of those influences, and how Jesus may have incorporated that content into a justice agenda for his ministry among us.

I have also sought to underscore my belief that the justice agenda of Jesus (as the Christ, the anointed one of God) is the justice agenda of God. The God of creation wants nothing more than for us to be co-creators of right relationship (dikaiosune) with one another and with the environment we all share. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus point to the commitment of sacrificial love for self, others and God that a right relationship takes.

How has the Christian church through the ages understood and lived out the justice agenda of the one whose name it bears?

The book of Acts tells us that after the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Day of Pentecost, Jesus communities and their leaders struggled hard and faithfully with the concept of justice. Acts 2 tells us that they made decisions that allowed them to take care of one another in ways that modeled a right relationship. Others who saw it were so impressed that they flocked to those communities.


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October issue

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