I went on a tour of the United Nations today. And honestly, it was pretty darn spectacular. Their were no amazing displays, and the main room, the General Assembly, was closed for roof repairs. (I guess the big January snows did a number on the roof). But I saw two things there that reminded me of Right Things in the World.
Check out The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Thirty profoundly stirring statements.
I also was moved by the Millenium Goals, 8 tremendously important things they are working to have accomplished by 2015. Eeesh -- only five years to go, and when you read the list, you'll see we have a L-O-N-G way to go.
Both of these documents fall under the title of "social justice," which has gotten a bad rap of late, thanks to dear old Glenn Beck. He seems to have a rather convoluted notion that to be for social justice as a Christian means that you think the government needs to giving everyone a handout. I think something much different; I think that the government is surprisingly inefficient and wasteful machine, though I will say in the same breath that I am very thankful to live in the US with the governmental systems that we have.
I just don't put much hope in the government accomplishing societal change on a grand scale. I want the government to support those changes, but I also know that governmental bodies of all stripes get stymied by dissent and political shenanigans and boondoggles and pork and all that yada yada. I believe in something far more constant than government -- the church.
I only wish the church would take our job seriously. We are called to give water to the thirsty, food to the poor, to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves, to bind up the wounds of the broken-hearted, to set the prisoner free. Look it up -- all those things are in the Bible. So when I saw these great documents at the UN today, I rejoiced in the truth they contained. And I was reminded that none of them will be remotely possible without the aid and power of the God of Justice. How I pray that God's people will get serious about being God's hand and feet in the world, and live out our calling. I see it happening in fits and starts -- church groups pouring into Haiti, Christians leading the way in fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa, Christian aid groups maintaining presence in the extremely poor regions of the world. We must sustain such life-giving service around the world, leading the way in justice and compassion.
In other words, may they know we are Christians by our love.