February 2, 2012

This Valentine’s Day BFJN has teemed up with Cambridge’sHope Fellowship Churchwith a special outreach event at the Porter Square MBTA stop. We’ve planned the event to demonstrate two important things that Christians care about: Love & Justice. Beginning at 7:30 AM on February 14th, we’ll be handing out Fair Trade chocolate from our friends atEqual Exchange Co-Op. Events like these help Christians bring God’s love and justice to a broken world. In the blog post below, Alex Grant – Hope’s Community Development Director – unpacks the Biblical paradigm for this action from the Gospel of Mark.

In the Gospel of Mark (12:28-31), a scribe asked Christ which commandment was the most important. After spending his life reading and copying manuscripts, this scribe had knowledge of every ancient law available to him. And yet, Christ’s answer probably surprised him: “Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength…” If He had just stopped there, it probably would have been enough for most with head knowledge of the commandments. However there was so much more to offer that reader of the law, and us today. “…The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’. There is no other commandment greater than these.”

[Wait…did Jesus just share two separate things of importance or are they one great commandment? And who is my neighbor? For Christ’s exact answer to the second question see Luke 10:25-37.]

As we go through life, it is easy to get lost in our social bubble (even as Christians). We tend to see and interact with the same individuals. Yet, there are so many more people than in our network. Each one made in the image of God, deserving love and fair treatment. Sadly, there are too many who aren’t given what we would call basic human rights. Too many, who aren’t given the love and fairness that we sometimes take for granted. [Maybe more times than we care to admit]

You may be saying to yourself: “Self, I hear what this message is saying, but I don’t mistreat other people. I don’t contribute to the injustices of the world!” Truthfully, most people don’t directly contribute to the mistreatment of others. [Don’t feel vindicated yet] Unfortunately, our wardrobe and food pantries don’t reflect our compassionate side.

Many products we tend to buy, including the chocolate we purchase for Valentine’s Day, aren’t made with the affection we attach to the gifts. The treat that one person enjoys, another had to suffer for it to be made. Who is my neighbor? Its the child who worked a day, like an adult, for less than an hour’s pay in the US. [For more information, check out thisstoryabout child labor in the cocoa industry.]

Shouldn’t something that brings us enjoyment also bring the same to those who make it? Isn’t it worth making a change in how and what we buy to help more companies invest love and justice into the treatment of their workers. Love and Justice…its something Christ cared about and emphasized. Isn’t it about time that we do the same.

BFJN partners with congregations from a range of denominational traditions to engage believers in personal, community and policy change. If you would like to plan an action with your congregation or to hear more about our free lifestyle justice curriculum,Lazarus at the Gate,please contact us at

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