DAY 1 - JUSTICE
Oscar Romero was a leader of the church in the 20th century during a time of great social unrest. He served the people of El Salvador while their society was permeated with injustice, and like many of us today, he wrestled with how to best represent Christ in an age motivated by selfishness and hatred.
At first, he preferred to stay out of political matters and wished to allow the affairs of the land to be separate from his duties to the church. Honestly, I’ve thought the exact same thing many times in this day and age, especially since social media seems to be the new forum for people to bash each other for their political affiliation, race or even religious beliefs. However, Romero couldn’t stay silent because he continually witnessed evil infecting and affecting the innocent people of El Salvador, so he used his influence to show and share the heart of Jesus in the midst of great darkness.
His stance was an excellent example of how we as Christians should approach the times we are living in now. He stood up against poverty, social injustice, assassinations, and torture. Given, we may not be faced with the same level of injustice Romero experienced but I believe it’s all relative when evil is prevailing, and good people do nothing. Regardless of where we are geographically, we too are confronted with one or more of the conflicts mentioned above.
His position to do something outside of the duties assigned to him by the church reminded me of a conversation I recently had with an iconic Christian singer who’s been in Christian music for decades. Despite the singer’s popularity, he found himself convicted by the Lord to make a stand for justice that called for more than just singing some pretty worship songs. He was haunted by division, racism and the hatred he saw on the news, so he made a call for unity of people from all different backgrounds.
The musician referenced Amos 5, which is a book in the Bible that is a sorrowful call to repentance. The prophet sternly rebuked the people of Israel for going along with their daily religious duties while allowing injustice to prevail.
“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” This scripture, found in 1 John 4:20 is mentioned in the film, "Romero" by a priest who is martyred for merely standing with the oppressed in El Salvador leading up to the country's civil war of the 20th century. Romero would, later on, have a similar tragic fate but his example of love and faith is exactly what the people of his time needed to see, as they searched for something more significant to look forward to, a hope in God that could comfort them through their current sufferings.
Take a moment to reflect on how God is asking you to stand up for righteousness in your own area of influence. Watch the Romero Collector’s Edition film clip, and ask yourself why is it important for people of God to lead by example? Was Jesus statement in John 15:13 (Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends) just words or was it an example of the standard He hoped we would all model after?