It started with a question: "Can we do Show of Hands?"
A little baffled by the question, I asked for more information. It was a justice initiative put on by the Office of Social Justice. I remembered seeing something about it on a mailing a few months before but had nowhere to go with it so it was filed under "R" (a big blue recycling bin under my desk).
The challenge was that the particular initiative was time sensitive. That Sunday, in fact. There was no time to prepare the congregation, no way to structure it into the broader worship and liturgical life of the church, and no opportunity to get it into a council agenda for consideration and approval.
There was just no way we could do it justice. (Literally or figuratively)
A missed opportunity. Many missed opportunities, really: to connect with others in the denomination who are passionate about ending global poverty; to affirm and make fruitful the work of those agencies, staff and volunteers who we need to support and bless beyond simple finances; to lead the congregation in the pursuit of justice in a way that sparks conversation and action; and to provide an opportunity for one of my members who is deeply concerned about our commitment to Millenium Development Goals.
The missed opportunity created another. It sparked an important conversation about how we deal with Biblical justice issues in our church. How do we receive, honour, and implement these different initiatives that come our way? How can we do it in a way that engages the congregation at a deeper level? Are there others who share similar passions who would come on board to make this kind of engagement possible? Are there local justice initiatives that we would love to address but no forum to address them?
So we formed the Justice League.
We are aware of the comic book connections.
That's how we roll.
We are a small group of 5-7 (and always welcoming new folks and associates) who feel called to put their energy into doing justice. We gather together over Nova Scotian wines and cheeses. We think deeply about Scripture, public discourse, and justice. We receive the stream of letters, pamphlets, and e-mails that come from every direction. And then we discern and implement.
It's been a ton of work. At the request of our council we wrote, taught and implemented new recycling and composting procedures for the church. We hosted a day of encouragement for Maritime churches around the theme of Indigenous Justice and reconciliation in conjunction with the reForming Relationships art tour. We have planned and built a community garden with the help of many partners on extra land our church was willing to share.
Not that we're superheroes. We're not. (Though I do have this nifty Superman belt buckle that I like to wear.) We've been challenged, stretched, stressed, shaken, and scared. We've also been blessed and used. We've grown together and reached out.
No more missed opportunities because we have an avenue to explore them.
Which is why I recommend forming a Justice League of your own. You can call it whatever you want. You can adjust the dynamics to fit who you are. The key is creating opportunities: opportunities to gather, opportunities to pray, opportunities to listen, and opportunities to do justice where you are.
Respond to Dan on Twitter @danielgtbrown.
[Photo: top from flickr user Lunchbox Photography, bottom from Daniel Brown]