March 26, 2023
Justice Advocacy Sunday is one of the most significant days in the life of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Not only are many Presbyterians unaware the day it falls upon, but also many don’t even know that it exists.
The PC(USA) is experiencing a spirit of advocacy moving within the denomination. Congregations have long histories of charitable mission in feeding hungry families and providing community resources to those impoverished. These continue to be important outreach ministries in fulfillment of God’s call to care for others. But today a broader awareness has arisen that charity, while meaningful, is not enough. The systems that bind people to poverty and injustice must be challenged and transformed through acts of faith-based advocacy.
The General Assembly adopted Matthew 25 to call Presbyterian to eradicate systemic poverty and dismantle structural racism. The Washington Office of Public Witness and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations each have over 70 years of advocacy. GA social witness policy positions find life as staff engages in the halls of Congress and in the assemblies of the United Nations.
Baltimore Presbytery promotes a three-year series on “Dismantling Racism.” National Capital’s mission statement defines it as “Missional, Pastoral, and Prophetic.” New Hope Presbytery’s Racial Equity Team is committed “to taking actions led by God’s Word, when faced with opportunities to call out structural racism and offer alternatives.”
A courageous effort is put forth by the Presbytery of Lake Michigan and First Presbyterian Church, Lansing, in support of reparations. FPC session pledged $100,000 in the spirit of “repentance, reconciliation and reparations” in support of the Justice League’s efforts to raise $1 million. FPC has led the congregation and community in reading the 225th GA Apology for Slavery.
New York Avenue Presbyterian Church (Washington, D.C.), is one of several congregations welcoming migrants bused from Texas, Florida and Arizona to Washington D.C., Chicago and New York City.
All of this and more are done as followers of Christ Jesus who care for “the least of these who are our brothers and sisters” (Matthew 25). The PC(USA) answers the call of Jesus to make justice one of the “weightier matters” of a life of faith (Matthew. 23:23).
Rev. Jimmie R. Hawkins, Advocacy Director for the Washington Office of Public Witness
Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, March 26, 2023, the Fifth Sunday in Lent (Year A)
Today’s Focus: Justice Advocacy Sunday
Let us join in prayer for:
Let us pray
Let us pray throughout 2023 a prayer that the prophetic voice of the church might express our faith in a God of Justice and Love. “Dear God, your son Christ Jesus is the savior of the world and the supreme embodiment of God’s will for humanity. Help us to be obedient to your commands that we live in harmony, peace and service one to the other. Bless our efforts to do your will in eradicating systemic poverty and structural racism. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”