Moving Toward Justice as the Body of Christ

Members of Alger Park CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich., along with staff from the Office of Social Justice, participated remotely in a climate vigil while the U.N. Climate Change Conference took place in Glasgow, Scotland.
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What does it mean to “act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Mic. 6:8)? Members of the Christian Reformed Church have been exploring this question with the help of the Office of Social Justice.

“On the CRCNA offering calendar, Feb. 13, 2022, is designated as a time to support the Office of Social Justice,” said OSJ director Mark Stephenson. “While pursuing justice is something to grow as a practice every day, this Sunday is a particular moment to reflect on the ways CRC members have joined together to love our neighbors in tangible ways—whether by putting our hands together in prayer, engaging our minds to learn, using our voices to advocate, or ‘praying with our feet.’”

Here are a few ways CRC members have pursued justice as the body of Christ in the past year.

Climate Vigil

Last fall, CRC members put their hands together in prayer for a Climate Vigil during the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. Organized in partnership with the Evangelical Environmental Network, Christians all over the world gathered online or in satellite locations to pray for faithful climate action. At the vigil, participants engaged in a time of lament, worship, and prayer for hopeful action in the midst of overwhelming need.

“Our God is a big God,” said a vigil participant from Alger Park Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., “so we can expect big things.”

Church Between Borders

CRC members have engaged their minds and learned together about current issues that affect our neighbors by participating in Church Between Borders workshops and other online resources.

After a recent CBB workshop at Hope College in Holland, Mich., a professor shared that the session helped her students understand the history of immigration to the U.S. “The timeline session was instrumental in growing their knowledge and awareness,” she said.

Blessing not a Burden Partners

Some CRCNA members have used their voices and even their yards to speak truth about our immigrant neighbors. Alison Wabeke of the Association for a More Just Society said that placing sign from OSJ with the message “Immigrants are a Blessing, Not a Burden” in her yard has affected those who visit her home.

“We live at the end of a private drive, so we don't have a lot of people who see it, and we originally thought that it may not do any good,” Wabeke said. But as Amazon, Uber Eats, and other pick-up or delivery folks visited her front steps, they began to notice.

“Someone picked something up and messaged us saying that they appreciate how the sign made them feel welcome,” Wabeke said. “Needless to say, the sign is working even at the end of a private drive.”

In-Person Advocacy

Still others have “prayed with their feet.” These advocates joined OSJ staff to meet with staff of U.S. legislators to ask for improved pathways to citizenship for immigrants and for new legislation to mitigate the impact of climate change.

“While we do dearly hope these pieces of legislation are accomplished,” said Karolyn DeKam, OSJ’s justice mobilizing and advocacy fellow, “we also coordinated these legislative meetings to demonstrate what a Christian perspective on climate and immigration can look like in the public sphere with the understanding that advocacy is a spiritual discipline. When we faithfully proclaim justice for the vulnerable and the oppressed, we are practicing a lived theology that might bring us and the world closer to the kingdom of heaven.”

About the Author

Megan Herrema is communications coordinator with the Office of Social Justice and Faith Formation Ministries.