It seems that many are concerned with social justice and have little concern for personal holiness and those who pursue personal holiness have little concern for social justice. The church at its best does both, at it's worst, does neither.

Our pursuit of holiness leads us to social justice.  Holiness is being set apart, not from something but for something.  There is a holiness to the Christian man or woman because of Christ's work, not our own,  and our holiness is revealed most fully when we are acting in accord with the purpose we have set apart for. 

We are set apart to love the Lord and our neighbors as ourselves. We are set apart to serve the world in his name.  We are set apart to make disciples, teach, baptize and continue the mission of Christ.

We are most holy when we re-present Jesus to the world, living and loving in such a way as to bring the kingdom "on earth as it is in heaven."

This is played out as we interact with the people around us. Made in God's image, they hold a dignity we are set apart to bring them.  Each human, regardless of identity, position, sex, race, ability or inability and without respect to how they may view themselves has something to teach us about what God is like if we we listen closely. If we will look beyond the surface of rage, dirt, beauty or title to see Jesus we may truly serve him as we serve them.

We seek the face of Christ in those we serve.  The idea that holiness would cause us to be removed from the world is ridiculous.  We follow a man who ministered to "the least of these." Hiding from the world is equivalent to putting our lamp under a basket. 

If we do social justice without the pursuit of Jesus, how can in any sense be bringing his kingdom?  Perhaps we are more caught up in bringing something other than that when we seek justice for those around us.  Maybe the deep desire to see the kingdom of God produces in us such a strong sense of justice we can't help it.   Or, as I fear may be the case, some have lost sight of the goal as they are running the race. 

© Bob Fabey