What is a more important Kingdom Action priority, gun violence prevention, creation care, or racial justice? What often gets our attention is whatever is trending on the news cycle. I am no exception. Two trips to Canada within the last year highlight this tension.
Last summer, I was in British Columbia during one of the most tangible examples of the climate crises that I can imagine, as hectare after hectare, Beautiful British Columbia was consumed in flames. Smoke and ashes filled the air day after day. Of the four weeks we were there, we counted only 5 days of what was, during my childhood, typical B.C. summer sunshine. I have video of my kids catching golf-ball-sized ashes as they floated to the ground, from fires burning mere miles away from my mother’s home. During that summer, I knew that, despite my concerns about the politicization of climate change, I needed to allow the very real dangers of the climate crisis to inform more of my ministry and work.
But the truth is, since returning to the still sunny skies of Virginia at the end of last August, I have given such things too little thought and even less time and energy. Instead, I have felt the need to direct more focus, time, and energy to addressing the more America-specific gathering storm-cloud of racial injustice.
Just this April, on my way to visit my ailing father in Toronto, I stopped at a supermarket in Buffalo I had not, at that point, ever heard of. It was called Tops Friendly Market, and it was bustling with African American men and women simply going about their business, keeping up with life’s demands just like anyone else.
When I heard about the recent racially-motivated mass shooting in Buffalo, I heard the words “Tops Friendly Markets” and immediately googled to see if it was the same market I had visited. It was not, the one I visited was 2.5 miles away from where the shooting took place. Nevertheless, I still tremble thinking of the way that ten humans, just like the ones that filled that other market the day I was there, had their lives cut short because a different white male entering a different Tops Friendly Market, decided their lives were his for the taking.
What is a Jesus follower to do? Of course the question I opened with is a trick question—all three are important. But that answer does little other than provide a good excuse to be very overwhelmed while remaining under engaged.
If we operate on a purely materialistic economy of justice, I think there is little honest hope. But if Jesus is trustworthy, and I believe he is, then one sentence of his in particular can give us hope amidst the mounting reason for despair: “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others.”
At Coracle we do not pretend to be the solution to the problems, but we do seek to offer up whatever “widow’s mite” we have. And, we invite you to join us in offering them up, trusting that in the economy of the Kingdom, such actions can become transformative.
Where the pharisee gave “a little from his fullness” the widow gave “the fullness of her little.” Giving our fullness is not a box easily checked by attending programs or service opportunities. Giving our fullness is the journey of a lifetime, and we hope that what we offer at Coracle can be one step along that journey.
Image: The Widow’s Mite, by James Tissot