Praying for Justice

I was at a gathering of youthworkers for Northwest Yearly Meeting. It was a Saturday in November, and a friend of mine approached me with an idea: a lectionary reader with more than fourteen hundred Bible passages – one each day for four years – illustrating God’s kingdom vision for a society in which all are valued as individuals bearing God’s image. He wondered what it would take to get a book like that completed and available for sale by the first or second week of January. “Am I crazy?” he asked.

I didn’t know if Steve was crazy. I’ve only been at Barclay Press for a year — an exciting, challenging year. What I did know is that this is exactly the kind of book and type of project — timely and targeted — that Barclay Press has to be able to do and do well if it’s ever going to be a self-sustaining Christian publishing house that serves Friends as “publishers of truth.”

Steve and another professor in the religion department at George Fox University put out a call for help. Dozens of volunteers gathered Scripture passages as well as quotations from people who have spent their lives thinking about, working for, and telling others about a God whom they believe to be radically on the side of the weak, vulnerable, and marginalized. They checked, rechecked, and rechecked again. And in under a month, they had all 446 pages to us. The book, Praying for Justice, went on sale last night and should be ready to ship by January 2. Here’s a preview:

The title of this book contains an invitation to pray for justice, but this book contains no overt prayers. Many of the more than fourteen hundred Bible passages contained here are prayers or portions of prayers. To read these texts is to be invited to join them in prayer. 

This book invites us to use each day’s verse as a meditation or reflection for that day and each week’s quotation as an examination of the ways in which your life images God’s redemptive justice in the world.

This book is also a call to action. Now is not a time for Christians to sit and trust that others will take care of people on the margins of our society. Christians must not content themselves with mere social media activism or personal piety. Christians must act often. Christians must act publicly. Christians must act sacrificially. Christians must act with courage and compassion. Christians must act as if it matter — because it does.

Eric Muhr