The church must advocate for the poor in the public square by equipping men and women to lovingly communicate the Gospel to elected officials regarding specific grievances of the poor, who neither possess the ability or courage to address such grievances. If the church will not produce such children, she will be perceived as irrelevant or disengaged-communicating to her community that neighborly love is not a priority.
The Gospel has multiple facets. Like a diamond held up to the light, the observer with a naked eye can enjoy the many facets, colors and clarity of such a wonderful jewel. The Gospel or God’s good news of incarnation, substitution and justification through Jesus Christ, is news that can be studied, meditated, and spoken of without an observer ever tiring of its many facets.
The Gospel though accomplishes two critical things. First, the good news is the proclamation that brings sinful individuals into the kingdom of God. The substitutionary and atoning work of God through Christ, effectually secures individual men and women, resurrects them to life in the presence of God and brings these individual men and women into not only a fellowship with the Triune God but in fellowship with others. Individual men and women hear the call of God from his house as they walk the streets of despair and by the sweet draw of the Spirit, enter the house of God where there is a joyous gathering of other men and women around a table of brotherhood.
This leads to the second critical accomplishment of the Gospel. The good news not only brings life to individuals but empowers this household of living people to engage the creation of God, being participants in the renewal of creation.
This is not anything new.
When God formed mankind, he directed his image bearers not only to be fruitful, but also to have “dominion” over the creation (Gen 1:27). This is not dominion in the sense of force or domination but stewards over what a good God has declared “very good.” Jesus repeats this command, as he commissions his disciples to wait for the Spirit of God so that they would be able to make disciples and be witnesses throughout the whole earth (Mt 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). Finally, Paul alludes to the fact the creation is groaning and waiting for the revelation of the children of God (Rom 8).
In God’s creation the public square exists. In organized communities, there is a place in which leaders gather to discuss compromise and make decisions that affect the whole of their communities. In our American context, we have city council, state legislatures and the United States Congress. Americans, under the protections of the Constitution have the freedom to address their grievances and seek change.
God ordains leaders.
Leaders gather in the public square.
The public square is part of creation.
God made creation.
The church, made up of redeemed people, exists in God’s creation to bring about renewal and this renewal extends into the public square. The church participates not only in the renewal of individual souls to be reconciled to God, but she participates in creation to steward and apply the wondrous gifts of God that is within her throughout that creation. Therefore, she is mandated to equip her children in order that the body would be mature (Eph 4). And if maturity involves speaking the truth in love to those in the body (v.15), it also includes speaking the truth with ones neighbor (v.25).
Elected officials and the other decisions makers who gather in the public square to discuss and make decisions about the larger city, must hear the voice of men and women who observe the sufferings of the weak and poor of the city. In the public square, the people of God have prime opportunity to make known the riches of God’s grace, exhorting leaders to love equally the strong and weak, the rich and poor, the healthy and lame.
These are truths that can and must be communicated by the people of God because in their communication, the public square has the opportunity to observe what love for ones neighbor truly entails. The public square observes a diverse group of men and women, united by the grace of God, speaking with love towards the rulers of a city because of their love for the silent suffers of the city.
These silent suffers have grievances.
Their feet are worn by the creation of grass sidewalks, when affluent areas have concrete paths.
Their bodies are tried by the heat of summer, the shower of water and the numbing cold when transportation is non-existent.
They are consumed with completing “just one day,” not focused on chamber and city council meetings.
The silent suffers have grievances and they can be made known by the people of God who have embraced love and are willing to communicate truth in love.
My hope for the church is that she would be the singular prophetic voice in America that would exhort the public square to be there for others. Not the church that has cast off the beautiful truths of the incarnate and risen Christ who is God-making herself irrelevant with no distinction from human centered organizations. And not the church that has cast off Christian loves for the city where she has been called-becoming a disengaged and self-righteous older brother. My hope for the church is that she would take her rightful place in the public square and magnify the light that is within her. Shining the Gospel which is eternally relevant in our finite time and beaming the rays of true Christian love which will illuminate acts of advocacy for those who have voice and reveal to the public square the glory of God that rests in the people of God.