I am writing in the midst of my fall tour. The travel has been keeping me busy to say the least. Last night I had a little concert at Princeton University. My friend Paul Raushenbush put it together, and students from the seminary gathered in a circle as I shared some songs, stories, and we conversed a little bit. The concert was titled, “Songs of Faith and Justice.” I was invited to talk about being an artist and activist and share stories. I began by asking how people would define “justice” in a sentence. It is a word that get’s thrown around a lot, but justice in the Way of Jesus is much different than the justice of the “Count of Monte Cristo.” If you look at the end, the one leads to Shalom, for everyone, and the other leads to vengence. People reflected a great many things about justice, but it was amazing how hard it was to nail down a single sentence. The best definition I have heard is “the right use of power.” I have mentioned in previous posts, I believe relationship is the single biggest catalyst for justice, because justice in the Way of Jesus, I believe is all about working for the Shalom of God, and in God’s Kingdom, relationship and people are the center.
Another sticking place we got to was the word “worship.” Before I go too far using a word, I like to check in with the group I am with and see what the word means to them. Again, my best definition is “the response to the presence of God.” There can be a spontaneous response, any moment a song will rise up kind of worship. There can also be a postured liturgical worship that is formed over long periods of time. And finally, there is a vocational, Romans 12, “my life is a living sacrifice” form of worship. But all three of these tings are still a response to the presence of God. I like grappling with these things, especially in these settings. It is really a gift to share and receive so many different perspectives along the way. So, if you too could give a one sentence definition of justice and/or worship, feel free to post in the comments!