Lament and Hope: A Pan African Quad-Centennial Devotional Guide - Page 5

“… and what doth the Lord require of thee…?” (Micah 6:8)
Calls to advocacy and action move us beyond personal, pietistic salvation or a limited God-me
relationship to the faith commitment that is involved with and for the wholeness of the world
around us. Advocacy, social action, and social justice ministries are not new words to Christians.
While they do not mean the same things, they convey the need to focus on goals and actions that
will bring abundant life to those who have little or no piece in the world’s pie.
My Black American Church heritage always challenged and resisted injustices through social
actions, which included speeches, written declarations, litanies and other calls to action. The
Senior Bishop
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME) annual conferences of that time almost always
Lawrence L. Reddick III
had a “State of the Country” message or a “Committee on Social Concerns” report. Granted, it
was an era that was primarily focused on the United States and the need for racial justice, societal equality and financial
empowerment of African American people; but it can be seen, looking back, as a blossoming of the awareness within
“Church” that God’s “righteousness” was more than pietistic, self-focused, or only about personal improvement.
That blossoming has become a call to know the interconnectedness of global issues and to join with others to set goals and
alleviate unjust actions and crippling deeds (even our own subconscious ones).
for public policy
stretches and
our faith...
In my own development, I have grown to understand that Christians beyond the African
American church denominations also know God’s call to justice issues. (I did not always
know or believe that.) And while, in the context of my denominational culture, we had
“State of the Country” messages and “Committee on Social Concerns” reports, or
participated in protests or marches, other Christians in other faith groups taught and used
language challenging people to advocate for issues of justice and empowerment.
Today, I hear the word “advocacy” much more clearly, but when I first heard it in the
context of what was being called (in my cultural upbringing) “social concerns” and “social
action,” I thought the word “advocacy” had strange overtones (or even suspicious, covert
undertones). Now I realize the calls for advocacy, social action and social justice all broaden and strengthen us and help us
hear God’s will for the wholeness of all of God’s creation from different idiomatic and societal perspectives.
This Pan-African Christian devotional for public policy engagement stretches and strengthens our faith as it brings us
through weekly meditations on “the word of God for the people of God.” This devotional also prods us to reflect, consider,
focus, and act. I am grateful to Bread for the World and the Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith for weaving together so much
from so many.
Senior Bishop Lawrence L Reddick III, of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, is also chair of the Organizing and
Constituency Committee of the Board of Directors at Bread for the World.
Bread for the World


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