My God, my God, why have you forsaken me

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

by Clinton Bergsma, Amos Aid Australia - September 2019

Our faith maintains that Yahweh is loving, all-powerful and concerned about the marginalised.  However, these claims are inevitably questioned when we encounter poverty and injustice. Communities that have an integrated spirituality and the Christians serving them often face the risk of losing their faith when disaster strikes or poverty persists and passionate prayers go unanswered. This paper argues that the biblical process of lament is a proven way of holding onto faith when it seems like God has disappeared from the scene or has not acted along the lines of his promises and character. Lament allows us to throw our accusations and questions at God while simultaneously drawing us closer to him and the people we are trying to serve. It is thus a necessary tool for building spiritual resilience in the often theodicean contexts of poverty and suffering.

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Worship and Justice: Spirituality that Embodies and Mobilizes for Justice

Worship and Justice: Spirituality that Embodies and Mobilizes for Justice

by Sandra Maria Van Opstal

Christian worship is the communal gathering of God’s people in which we glorify God for His person and actions. This encounter with God includes gathering together, encountering the triune God in the word and sacrament, and sending the community out into the world as agents of His love and justice. This paper is meant to highlight the importance of worship in forming people who walk humbly with God, love mercy, and do justice.

Worship is formative, so we must ask, “What are we forming?” What we include or exclude from our worship practices in preaching, prayer, music, and arts informs our theology and our embodied faith. I examine the importance of spirituality that embodies and mobilizes for justice, the challenges in breaking people free from idolatry in worship, and the implications on the church and its role in the world. I rely on case studies from local congregations, denominations, and organizations for both illustration and to help suggest some best practices for those seeking to build bridges at the intersection of worship and justice.

There are churches that make worship a priority, and yet the worship doesn’t result in transformed disciples with increased compassion and love for neighbor. What does it look like for us to develop practices of worship that mobilize our communities towards justice and to model just practices in our worship? While there are some dialogues on contextualized worship and or multicultural worship, they often employ approaches that model little more than tokenism and appropriation. I start by exploring the theological intersection of worship and justice and then move to worship and formation.

The strategies I propose are rooted in worship that embodies hospitality, solidarity and mutuality. I conclude by reimagining a worship that does more than entertain us. 

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