“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8 ESV)
One of my favorite things to do is take my dog to the dog park. Right now I love to check out the blue herons, nesting in very tall trees near the Sammamish River. I love to watch them as they gracefully fly from the nests to the river and back, and as they watch the nests. One time last year we saw an eagle try to attack the area, and the herons put up such a fuss the eagle flew away.
The other day an eagle attacked the area, but this time the herons squawked and unfortunately the eagle was undeterred. He (or she) started eating the eggs or the hatchlings in a nest. One heron, perhaps the mother, was very upset as she watched the eagle devour her babies, and made a lot of noise and flapped her wings furiously. Other herons were flying about and squawking, calling attention, but the big bully kept on eating whatever was in the nest. It took a while but finally the eagle was done, and I hoped he would fly away. But no! He just went to the next nest! I was sad and couldn’t do anything about it (for one thing, eagles obviously are a protected species, and for another thing, the nests were too high up for anyone on the ground to make noise and distract the bird). So I walked on.
As I walked, I prayed and asked God about this. Nature can be so cruel. Pragmatic, yes, circle of life; but cruel as well. I told him I felt helpless about this situation with animal babies, while also realizing that children and others around the world are constantly victimized and I don’t always feel this upset (not that I would want to be constantly upset). I told him I can’t do anything about the eagle-heron situation, but I reasoned with God, I could do something about the injustice in the world, even if it’s a small step.
Sometimes we don’t feel distress about injustice in the world because we don’t see it, it feels far away from our everyday lives, or we put a wall around those feelings and lock them away, so we don’t get hurt. Yet our willingness to do something about injustice is a Kingdom response, full of life and love and mercy, God’s way of helping others in this world. We will live Kingdom lives, being who we are meant to be, pleasing to God, as we help the marginalized and the helpless. Jesus said, “Whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)
As I prayed, I recalled many Creeksiders who are involved in some way in justice, who pour out God’s love and mercy to others. Then I prayed for those who are amazing people, but who haven’t stepped out into a role of fighting injustice, that perhaps God is calling them to. As Erwin McManus points out in his book The Barbarian Way, it is easier to redirect a ball that is rolling than one that is sitting. God will redirect us if we just step out, get out of our comfort zones, and act (with his leading).
Life is short! If you’re interested in making a difference, you can talk to Doug or Noah or Lynn. The next Deep Waters class is Cultural Captivity on April 18 – these classes are inspiring. And even if you don’t know what your specific “call” is, you can try out or visit some of the ministries around you (without pressure to join).
To get more information on ministries in which Creeksiders are involved, ask them. For ELL, ask Katrina. For prison reform, see Jani. To help prison inmates, see Kent. To help stop human trafficking, see either Bryan or Mercy or Kelsey with REST, or Nicole with The Genesis Project. To be involved with mentoring young kids at Sherwood Forest Elementary, see Lynn F. To work with teens in Redmond Young Life, see Peder. To help with the Food Bank, see Darian. To visit the Creekside Life Group (developmentally disabled young adults) – see me for a list of those involved. To get involved helping homeless families through Vine Maple Place, see Jon A. Or check out the Creekside website for the other missionaries/missions we support, like Young Life Capernaum, or YWAM or others. (I apologize to any Creeksiders I’ve neglected to mention.)
I’d rather be like the herons last season that banded together and stopped a bird of prey from killing their babies, rather than the ones who helplessly watched as their babies were preyed upon. Together we can ask God to, as Martin Luther King, Jr. so famously quoted, “Let Justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24)
Kelly can be reached via email.