As my preschool-aged daughter helped me color a sign for a protest against racial injustice, we talked about how people have been marching, resisting, and protesting for decades before us. Since we are white people in a racist society, we are granted privileges not freely given to others; but as Christians we are called to use our privilege to reform our society and ensure that everyone has the same freedom and rights. We are part of something bigger than us that started long ago to bring justice for those who suffer. Even in our time, the struggle continues.

In his second letter to the Thessalonians, the apostle Paul understands the long-suffering and endurance that are part of faith. In the midst of persecution and affliction, he encourages the early believers not to veer from the truth or the traditions they’ve been taught. He prays for God to fulfill in them “every good resolve and work of faith.”

Such good resolve and works of faith are still necessary today for those who suffer because of poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, and other types of oppression. Part of our calling as followers of Jesus is to lift up our neighbors who suffer. And part of our calling is to urge those of us who do not suffer the same oppression to work to transform the world together.

By highlighting gratitude, Paul reminds those of us who are suffering in this life that God’s grace and peace are with us. He also urges those of us in a place of privilege to recognize all we have and to hear the call to bring justice and peace in our world.

My daughter and I finished our sign, and I carried it high during the protest. “Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God,” it read in the spirit of Micah 6:8. May we be worthy of God’s call and filled with God’s power, with every good resolve and work of faith.

Holy Spirit, fill us with your power to dismantle injustice with every good resolve and work of faith. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 19:1-10

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Lectionary Week
October 24–30, 2022
Scripture Overview

Habakkuk stands aghast at the “destruction and violence” all around and wonders how justice never seems to conquer. At the end of the reading, God contrasts the proud, whose spirit “is not right in them,” with the righteous who live by faith. The psalmist delights in God’s righteousness and in the commandments of God; however, he admits that “I am small and despised.” The psalmist’s “trouble and anguish” appear in Second Thessalonians also, but here the “persecutions and the afflictions” endured by the faithful serve a particular end: They stand as signs of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In the Gospel reading Jesus tells Zacchaeus, “Today salvation has come to this house,” which reminds us that the righteous who live by faith are not necessarily the socially or religiously acceptable.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4. How can you wait actively for God’s response to your prayers and complaints? How will you enact God’s response when it comes?
Read Psalm 119:137-144. How do you follow God’s commandments in the face of injustice and corruption?
Read 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12. The work of the church has never been easy. How does your faith community work to exude God’s love in a time when many reject or feel rejected by church institutions?
Read Luke 19:1-10. When have you run to Jesus? How can you share your experience so others pursue Jesus as well?

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