If you have a chance to get to know me in person, I can tell you that it doesn't take long for one to realize, like my husband has, that I have a black heart. I rarely cry, truth be told, I don't usually miss people…never have, and it takes a lot to offend me. But if you want to get me fired up, angered to tears, just mention oppression: an oppressed people group or individual, racial oppression, discrimination, or injustice. I realized, after arriving in Cambridge that my bookshelf is a testament to this and right now am slowly making my way through Half the Sky, Long Walk to Freedom, Generous Justice and Uncle Tom's Cabin, all of which can be found on the "My Bookshelf" tab…( I can't even make this stuff up.) I can't tell you when I started to feel this way, but it was in my senior year in college that I began to articulate my response as I wrote on the appropriation of Christianity by African Americans. I read of their history, their bondage, their struggle for freedom and their expression of longing through individuals like John Coltrane and Duke Ellington.
So it is no surprise that when I first heard of Reece's Rainbow I instantly was moved. North America has made commendable advances in society's treatment of individuals with disabilities, but this is not the case worldwide and in many places including Eastern Europe individuals with Down Syndrome are mistreated and abused. That being said I am so grateful for organizations such as Connecting the Rainbow and Down Syndrome Education International who strive to provide resources and encouragement to parents in the very countries many of the RR angels come from.
Social justice, however, has and still does have negative connotations within Christian circles. This is baffling to me as I feel it is clear that we, as Christians are called to care for the poor, needy, widows, orphans and imprisoned. I thought it fortuitous that just a day after posting my plea for a baby boy name Jakob that I would read these words of Timothy Keller:
"…The sick were to be "looked after." The Greek word used for this is episkopos, which meant to give oversight and supervision. That meant that the ill and diseased were to be given comprehensive care until they were well. Finally, the disciples were to "visit" prisoners, which meant they were to give them comfort and encouragement. It is a remarkably comprehensive list. This is the kind of community that Jesus said his true disciples would establish. Believers should be opening their homes and purses to each other, drawing even the poorest and most foreign into their homes and community, giving financial aid, medical treatment, shelter, advocacy, active love, support, and friendship.
But there is something even more startling about this discourse of Jesus. Jesus did not say that all this is done for the poor was a means of getting salvation, but rather it was the sign that you already had salvation, that true, saving faith was already present." (pg. 53)
I am not out to lay guilt but rather encourage fellow believers.
I always find this time of year particularly hard in that the oppressed are at the forefront of my mind as I do what I can and struggle with the fact that at this point am unsure as to how to do more. If you haven't had a chance to read this post please do.
Thank you for reading
Thank you for opening your hearts
Thank you for sharing
And if you are not financially able to give, please pray.
Pray for these children, pray for the victims of famine in Somalia and other parts of Africa, pray for freedom for the oppressed.