A kingdom of justice

A kingdom of justice

Written on 07/07/2021
Emily Montesano

On earth as it is in heaven

Written by Emily Montesano

I was sitting in my seat at church one Sunday when I was reminded of a simple, yet profound truth. Through Christ, we are peacemakers, justice-seekers, and image-bearers—uniquely chosen to actively play a part in His story of restoration.

While this calling wasn’t new to me, it was a fresh perspective on what my role is within the brokenness and division that has characterized our society over the past year. My heart yearned to see the narrative of redemption reign around the world. But I found myself stuck. How was I supposed to respond to the pain and inequity ever unfolding before us?

As we live in this tension, it becomes more and more evident that we are created to long for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).That longing is in our nature as human beings, as sons and daughters of Christ.

The Bible says, “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:22-23 ESV).

All of creation groans, longing for redemption. My own longing for redemption was stirred up as I saw news stories of the growing economic disparity caused by this pandemic, the broken relations with our Indigenous communities, and racially motivated hate crimes.

I considered how our societal structures fall so short in a country that proclaims itself as: “strong and free.” We are weakened and enslaved by the perpetuation of fear of “the other”—often those who are marginalized in our communities. We see the need for redemption everywhere.

As I sat in church that day, listening to that sermon, I realized I was actually struggling to see evidence in the world of the redeeming nature of Jesus’ death on the cross. For it is His death that supposedly brings life, freedom, and the deepest joy we could ever long for.

That sermon reminded me we are meant to carry God’s image and are designed to look like Him for all the world to see. Even in our sin and brokenness, we are created in the image of God. As Christians, we’re constantly being re-created back into that image. We rebel, and then we are sought after and redeemed, and adopted.

Because we bear God’s image, it is our deepest desire to become more like Him. As we transform, we begin reflecting His character. This means as we grow in Him, our hearts break and burn just like His. We become justice-seekers and peacemakers because God is the truest justice-seeker and peacemaker. It’s in our new DNA. We have been redeemed to make a difference!

We also wait longingly for the redemption and restoration of the entire fallen world. From almost the beginning, our world has been broken and divided—as we’re seeing right now. But when we look at the big picture of God’s redemption from Genesis to Revelation, we realize He isn’t only at work in our individual lives.

He is working to restore all of humanity into togetherness. Togetherness doesn’t mean sameness. It means there will be no division or disparity between us. We are for each other and with each other, unified in Christ and by Christ.

When we read Galatians 3:28, we see this theme come full circle. The Passion translation says this: “And we no longer see each other in our former state—Jew or non-Jew, rich or poor, male or female—because we’re all one through our union with Jesus Christ.” The apostle Paul tells us we are created to be together and to take up each other’s burdens regardless of racial, ethnic, class, or gender divisions.

I began rethinking what this call tangibly looks like in my community. My small group began serving meals at a homeless shelter and engaging in conversation with those who passed through. My friend group pooled together $3,000 to give to families in our neighbourhood facing financial difficulties. I began intentionally practising empathy and understanding. I am trying to be quick to listen, learn, and pray rather than solve.

While these may seem like simple acts, they bring glory to God and display His redemption, power, and promises. When we are a redemptive presence, we participate in the restorative work of Christ. We begin to look more like Him and see glimpses of the wholeness that is to come.

What an honour it is to be invited into this beautiful work of our God. Take a moment to reflect on this big picture of redemption. Consider these questions to reflect on your own redemption process and the broader story of humanity:

  1. What areas of my life reflect the life, freedom, and joy Jesus offers? What is one way I can grow in each of these areas?
  2. How can I be a redemptive presence in my family, friend groups, and community?
  3. Am I allowing the gospel narrative and the truth that I am fully redeemed to seep into my every thought and action in the pursuit of justice and unity? What is one practical step I can take to move further in this direction?

Together, we take up the burdens of our brothers and sisters, fight for justice and unity, and yearn for the eternal home God is preparing for us—a home free of brokenness and division.

But until that day, we pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”