A Call for Courageous Justice by Ida Kaastra-Mutoigo
Spirited Reflection – Sunday, January 25, 2015
Ida Kaastra-Mutoigo is the Director of World Renew Canada, the development, disaster response, and justice arm of the Christian Reformed Church in North America.
Note: In the first part of this reflection the reflector assumes the first person voice of God for a more direct, visceral understanding of the week’s texts by the reader.
I am a God of justice and who calls you to do justice. How will you hear that call today? If you read Jonah 3:1-5, you will understand that when I (God) give a message of justice, I expect obedience from both the messenger and the recipient of that message. I expect the messenger to be faithful in relaying the message and I expect the person who hears the message to respond positively by acting more justly.
The first time I gave a message to Jonah for sharing with the people in Nineveh, a message that called them to live more justly by confessing and turning away from sinful living, Jonah ran away. He was not courageous in giving the message for justice to be done. That’s why he went through a whale of an experience before realizing he had to listen to me. When he accepted to relay the message, look at the amazing transformation that happened as the people of Nineveh repented, fasted and put on sackcloth. Their obedience to my call for justice resulted in forgiveness, restoration and being able to live in a right, justified relationship with me.
What does this mean for you today? If I am giving you a message that speaks justice to a situation or a relationship that is in trouble today, please be faithful and courageous to share it. Likewise, if someone is courageous and faithful to communicate to you how you need to live and act more justly, be obedient and watch the amazing transformation that forgiveness and restoration will bring. Look at the many opportunities that I am bringing to you to do justice and speak justice with Indigenous communities and with the creation I gave you.
Do you lack courage to speak for justice or find it difficult to act more justly? Read Psalm 62:5-12 and let these truths penetrate your soul so that your attitude can change:
• I am your God who is strong and loving. Thus, you can pour out your heart to me and find your rest, salvation and honor in me.
• I am your refuge, rock and fortress. Thus, you can trust in me at all times and not be shaken. You do not need to put your trust in riches or fame or pursue unjust extortion to get these.
Indeed as you read 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, you will realize that the things you have today, whether relationships or assets, are not yours to keep permanently. What is permanent is my everlasting love for you. That is why I hope you develop an attitude of holding the things of this world lightly as if you are stewards not controllers of the people, things and environment I give you. Even when I ask you to speak and act for justice, be careful that you do not try to hold too tightly onto your pride, your money or your reputation at the cost of promoting justice in this world. Remember it is I, the Lord God, who called you and you belong to me.
Look at how my disciples were called in Mark 1:14-20 and you will learn more about the courage to let go and to hold things lightly in this world. Simon and Andrew were busy with their fishers’ work of casting a net into a lake when My Son, Jesus, called them saying, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” They followed at once, yes, immediately! There was no hesitation for them to leave their nets behind. They were not holding onto their assets too tightly in order to heed the call for spreading my message of love and justice to other people. Likewise with James and John, when they were called, they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men. They were not holding onto their family or work relationships too tightly in order to follow Jesus and fulfill his call to them.
So come follow me today. Hear my call to do justice and to love mercy. Walk humbly as my disciple. Keep your eyes and heart open to hear the cries for justice of my people. Speak my messages of justice to those in positions of power in churches, governments and corporations and call them to repent of any actions of oppression whether that may involve Indigenous people, refugees, the environment or others who are vulnerable. Most importantly, do justice with courageous trust in me as your everlasting, loving God.
How Will You Respond to this Call for Courageous Justice?
A few months ago, in August 2014, I (Ida, the reflector) had the privilege of participating in a Philippines Learning Tour organized by KAIROS. During that trip, my eyes were opened to the significant challenges that the Indigenous communities of the Subanen in Zamboanga Del Sur, Mindanao were facing to defend their land, water and culture of life from the impacts of a Canadian mining company and its subsidiary in the Philippines.
I cannot help but ask myself what I can do with this new knowledge of human rights abuses, extrajudicial killings, loss of land and property and potential permanent damage to the environment the Subanen people consider sacred. My hope is that the information from the report of our tour can be used to help inform the Open for Justice campaign, launched in October 2013, and promoted by KAIROS. This campaign calls for federal legislation to hold Canadian companies accountable when they are complicit in human rights or environmental violations overseas, and for the Government of Canada to create a mandatory extractive-sector Ombudsman.
Will you join the church members of KAIROS as they seek to do justice in these issues? May God use us in courageous justice ways to accomplish God’s purpose!