By Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon
Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes
take the free gift of the water of life. (Revelation 22:17).
Christ’s incarnational birth for the sake of humanity is God’s greatest gift to the world. What an incredible wonder that the God of the universe “so loved the world” that He chose to send Jesus (John 3:16). Savior and Redeemer. Advocate and Counselor. Beloved Son. Anointed One. Lamb of God.
Christ came into the world so that all of creation might once again be reconciled to God. A broken world, through Christ, is once again made right. Jesus came so that the people of God might have “knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins” (Luke 1:77). Death to life. Darkness to light.
The kingdom of God — with justice and shalom — is a picture of the way God intended the world to be. The prophet Isaiah described a picture of this kingdom when the Messiah who would come to “proclaim good news to the poor…to proclaim freedom for the prisoners…recovery of sight for the blind…to set the oppressed free…” (Isaiah 61:1-2). The year of the Lord’s favor would be proclaimed. Jesus declared these words at the start of His ministry and said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21).
Justice is an expression of the kingdom of God being fully manifest in this world. As justice is pursued, the shalom (peace) of God comes. The pursuit of justice provides an invitation for those who choose to follow Jesus to enter into the redemptive process of the earth’s wrongs being made right and creation being reconciled to its creator.
At World Vision, it is one of life’s greatest privileges to do meaningful ministry alongside men, women, and children who are committed to responding to the needs of the poor around the world. Justice allows us to not only provide clean water to those who are thirsty and food for the hungry but to look more deeply at the systemic causes of poverty and need. What are the core causes of poverty and injustice? And how can we as followers of Jesus seek to remedy those challenges and right those wrongs? Such is the work of justice.
All of us, regardless of where we live in the United States or around the world, have the opportunity to be advocates of justice on behalf of those who suffer. As we go about the daily activities of our day — be it in the world of business, running the kids around to and from afterschool activities, spending time with family and loved ones over an evening meal, or wherever we may be — may the Lord open our eyes to see the people around us, near and far, who are in need.
And as we seek to be agents of justice in the world, let us be reminded of the One who provides living water. Little boys and little girls around the world are being given tangible expressions of God’s love as we provide food, water, and care to meet their physical and spiritual needs. And Christ’s love pours forth as we taste the living water of his mercy and justice.
Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon is World Vision’s Senior Director of Advocacy and Outreach. She is the author of Social Justice Handbook: Small Steps for a Better World (IVP, 2009); Just Spirituality: How Faith Practices Fuel Social Action (IVP, 2013); and co-author of Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith (Zondervan, 2014).