About a week ago I was part of a conversation in which social justice was lifted up (yet again) as the way congregations are to show up in public. I hear this a lot.

Most all other aspects of congregational life are seen as intra-congregational – going on inside the church’s walls, and yet justice-making is talked about as extra-congregational – getting us into the town square.

Building Beloved Community is our collective work and applies as much to what goes on within our congregations as outside, perhaps even more so. This means that we commit to “be the love” not just at the soup kitchen or prison, but in our Board meetings, at the holiday auction, and with our children in Religious Formation. Building Beloved Community means that yes, we seek the repair of a broken world out there, but we also know that we cannot neglect the brokenness in here. Those we serve soup to or alongside are paying attention to how well we love each other, and a committee meeting with no check-in or chalice lighting defeats our divine purpose.

Of course, we need better ways for our congregations to be involved and invested in our surrounding communities. But relegating justice ministries to the margins of our congregations and connotating it as irrelevant for our day-to-day life is not helping us build more just and loving spiritual centers. It’s time to bring justice ministries into the heart of our congregations.

 

image credit: Jasmine Delilah – Flickr license CC BY 2.0