Fill Me, Use Me... for the Work of Ministry
Fill Me, Use Me... for the Work of Ministry: Lenten study resource offered by the Episcopal Church's Office of Black Ministries
TO SEEK TO TRANSFORM UNJUST STRUCTURES OF SOCIETY
Set the prayer table and light the candle. Invite someone to read a prayer or pray spontaneously.
Read together the 4th Mark of Mission
To seek to transform unjust structures of society.
Invite someone to read scripture
The scripture passage to the right reflects Jesus being sufficiently angry and moved to action in the face of a situation that went against everything he was teaching. In this instance, the temple, which is to be respected as a house of prayer for all nations, was being used by a few for their own gain without thought to anyone else but themselves. They even conspired to kill Jesus for his audacity and intrusion. Taking action points to the question raised in the letter to James, “What good is it my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works?” Faith is not faith unless it is lived out in daily life. Our praise of God, worship and fellowship is not sufficient in and of itself; it requires that we take heed of the injustices and inequalities that exist in society all around us and to put to use the skills with which we have been blessed.
We do not have to look very far for a system of injustice which is especially destructive because of its negative impact upon our children. The School-to-Prison Pipeline criminalizes students from a young age, destroying their confidence in those whom they would rather trust for an education and direction for their lives. Instead, it seems that the system is more dedicated to incarceration than education, denying our children the right to a childhood and teen years that prepare them to lead sustainable lives in the future. It is in this arena and others like it that we might look at Jesus’ example in the temple, and respond in constructive ways to advocate for children in an effort to break the School-to-Prison Pipeline and offer our young people pipelines to the Kingdom of God.
Pray together the Lord’s Prayer
Exploring the Landscape
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) and the American Bar Association (ABA) are a few of the organization that are working to combat the School-to-Prison Pipeline and advocate for the rights of children.
Invite people to respond to the questions:
What have you learned about how organizations in your own communities are responding? In what ways can you advocate for the rights of a child to have a quality education, to be taken care of and treated with respect? In what ways can you transform the unjust structure of the School-to-Prison Pipeline?
Invite people to share a personal reflection on the time they just spent together. Invite someone to lead a closing prayer.
What can you do to combat unjust structures/actions in your community? Be specific. Who will you share the story with? How will you encourage others to support your efforts?