By Joseph Sunde
Conversations about justice tend to quickly devolve into debates over top-down solutions or mechanistic policy prescriptions. But while the government plays an important role in maintaining order and cultivating conditions for society, we mustn’t forget that justice begins with right relationships at the local and personal levels.
In For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles, Evan Koons explores topic from the perspective of hospitality, a theme we find throughout the Biblical story.
How do we approach and treat our neighbors? How do we act and interact, collaborate and exchange, relate and participate alongside each other? Are approaching our neighbors as co-creators made in the image of a holy God, and structuring our associations and institutions in a way that reflects his design for creation?
Evan concludes with a letter that highlights the importance of these questions, pointing to God’s purpose for the Economy of Order and our role therein:
Justice needs a face. Yes, God created the world to have order, and yes, in a broken world we need curators of that order: governing bodies to cultivate the conditions for the various spheres of society to flourish in the ways that they know best…
But seeking justice must always be personal, and this means investment. This means vulnerability. This means hospitality…Justice requires love, because you won’t have justice unless you remember the image of God in each person. Unless you remember each person’s dignity as a glorious, creative, capable gift to the world, Unless you are willing to give yourself away to keep that memory alive. But we must do more than just remember the dignity of all, and especially the stranger. We must welcome that stranger, make a space for him in our lives, to make a place at our tables for that gift in whom God himself delights…
…Seeking order, seeking justice, isn’t a matter of designing the right programs or delivery systems. Let us remember that seeking order means acting in accord with a true vision of our brothers and sisters. Let us remember the words of a famous theologian: “Seeing with the eyes of Christ, I can give to others much more than their outward necessities; I can give them the look of love which they crave.”
For more, see For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles.