What is the most amazing thing about Jesus?
The life he lived?
That he was willing to die?
That he was raised from the dead?
Recently, what has stuck out to me the most about Jesus is the act of going.
If the Christian faith is correct, Jesus was sent on a mission. He came to a place that was different than his home. He walked into a place where the values and beliefs, the very way of life was much different than his own.
Nonetheless, he went.
In his going, he went as a fragile, delicate baby who needed to learn, who had to be taught by human parents and human teachers. He went into a new setting needing new friends, needing love and acceptance.
He did not stay far away, but he came close, so close that the human experience engulfed him, killing him.
He took on all that was human: the pain and the fun, the sadness and the happiness, the fear and the courage, the weakness and the strength.
The experience of the others became his own.
In this way, Jesus set the stage for justice. He set the example for all people who would desire to live out justice in the world.
He came and he took on that for which he would fight the hardest.
I think this is often what is most left out of our fighting for justice, our crying out for justice.
We see pain and hurt and suffering from a distance. We see the injustice and we are moved by it. We can possibly even feel it a bit.
It stays too far away because the injustice is not our own. The pain is not our own. The suffering is not our own.
The missing piece in the fight for justice is the going, the experiencing, the living. It is the becoming poor with the poor, hungry with the hungry, naked with the naked. It is the act of becoming one, not only in word, with those whom we know we must fight alongside.
So, what does it take?
It takes going into the darkness.
One of the greatest fighters for justice in the history of the world is William Wilberforce. In the movie Amazing Grace that chronicles his life, he is depicted as bringing a slave ship with horrendous smells next to a ship where wealthy patrons are dining. He brought the horror directly into the face of those whom he most needed to persuade concerning the abolition of slavery.
While they did not experience slavery, the smell of the horror helped them to understand the institution. They were forced into, even if only one step, the darkness.
Can you imagine the effect even a day, or a week, of being a slave would have had on these people? They wouldn’t have only signed WIlberforce’s petition, they would have become those that fought side by side with slaves and all other women and men like Wilberforce.
We can fight and cry out against injustice until we are blue in the face, but until we step into the darkness, so much as we can, we will miss the greatest opportunity of relationship and fighting alongside the most abused by injustice.