Monday, September 22, 2008

Justice in the Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God is a foundational concept for mission in The Salvation Army. Through images of the Kingdom, Jesus proclaimed a new vision of society where many existing values would be turned upside-down. In this Kingdom, people would be valued in a different way than they usually are – particularly those who are often forgotten or marginalised by current standards. The Kingdom symbolises a different way of measuring what should be valued in our lives. For those at the ‘bottom’ of society, the Kingdom provides hope that things will not always be as they are now.

Where tax systems favour the rich over the poor, the Kingdom challenges us to speak out against these systems. When companies profit from people with alcohol or gambling addictions, the Kingdom calls us to advocate for those who suffer. When government priorities ignore public housing, health or education, The Salvation Army if it is to be true to the Kingdom, must be prepared to confront those in power.

Jesus’ message about the Kingdom was a vision of good news to the poor which was underpinned by the way he treated people who were marginalised and rejected by his society. That is to say, his life was consistent with his message; he practiced what he preached. If the message of the Kingdom of God is taken seriously, it cannot be relegated to a future, otherworldly dimension. The Kingdom has direct implications for how we act in the world today. The Kingdom of God as a missional directive calls us to be active in social justice and to stand up and speak on behalf of those who are voiceless.

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