What do we mean by "justice"?
by Pastor Allison

God has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
- Micah 6:8

In our modern world, the term "justice" is thrown around quite a lot.  It is used in reference to the "justice system," which punishes people for crimes.  It is used by social movements like #BlackLivesMatter to call for change in our current systems.  It is used as a synonym for fairness in everyday situations.  As a result, there can be confusion when people talk about justice.

As Christians, we discern what justice means to us in conversation with the Bible.  Justice is one of the primary themes of both the Old and New Testaments, and numerous Biblical words and concepts point back to this theme.  Let's take a look at a couple of them:

This Hebrew word, usually translated as "justice," "judgment," or "rule" is used again and again throughout the Old Testament.  This is the word that appears in Micah 6:8, above.  When it is used to indicate a judgment or a rule by a king, its connotations involve a judgment or reign that lifts up the poor and provides for the needy.

This Hebrew word, usually translated as "righteousness" or "justice," is also used consistently in the Old Testament, and it is often paired with the word "mishpat."  For example, Genesis 18:19: "...keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness (tzedek) and justice (mishpat)..."  This common pairing demonstrates how in the view of many Old Testament writers, justice and righteousness go hand-in-hand.  To act rightly is to act justly (see article linked below).  

This Hebrew word, usually translated as "peace," involves much more than a simple lack of war or conflict.  In the Bible, a community of shalom involves equity, radical hospitality, and mutual love.  A shalom community captures one of the Bible's visions for a just community.

Kingdom of God
The kingdom (or kin-dom) of God, is Jesus' vision for a just community.  In the kin-dom, everyone has what they need, and injustices cannot persist.  The kin-dom of God is the world as it should be, in God's view.  The kin-dom is what we as Christians are called to build and live into.

Our readings for this Sunday include many references to the Biblical theme of justice (Isaiah 58:1-12, Psalm 146, Luke 4:16-21).  Gathered for worship in the Fellowship Hall, we will delve into this theme more fully, exploring what these passages can teach us about the meaning of justice for Christians today.  I look forward to our time together.

If you'd like to read more about the theme of justice in the gospel of Christ, the prophets of the Old Testament, the Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Bible), and the early church, follow the link below.
What Does the Bible Say about Social Justice?
Pastor Allison will be performing in the Spring Figure Skating Exhibition at Robert Crown Community Center (1801 Main Street, Evanston) this Sunday afternoon. The show is free, open to the public, and runs from 4:00-7:00 pm. Spectators are invited to come and go as they wish throughout that time. Pastor Allison is scheduled to perform her solo at approximately 6:30 pm and then perform in a group number to the Star Wars soundtrack at the very end of the show. All are welcome to come cheer her on!

Happy Birthday to those born 5/20-5/26:
  • Dano Johnson, 5/22
  • Mylene Pollock, 5/22
Additions to the Prayer List
  • Rissa Winter, niece of Margye Smith, cancer diagnosis
We apologize for any omissions. If your birthday, anniversary, or new intention on the prayer list is not included, please contact to be added. Please also let us know of any personal or family milestones, including happy occasions or serious lifecycle events that you would like to share with the St. John's community.
Mission & Vision Special Service
This Sunday, we will have a special worship service that includes a focus on the ongoing development of our strategic plan. The Mission & Vision Team will share the ideas and reflections we heard during the small group sessions in March-April, and then we will explore the Biblical value of justice, which is a key concept in our draft vision statement. The service will be held in the Fellowship Hall, and there will be no Zoom or streaming of the service. See you there as we continue to discern together where the Holy Spirit is leading St. John’s! 

Funds Secured for a St. John’s Brick
We are happy to report that we have reached our goal raising of $250 for a large-sized commemorative brick to be included in Wilmette’s new pedestrian alleyway in the Village Center. Thank you so much for your generosity! We look forward to seeing our church’s name engraved in this central walkway for years to come.
Thank You, Family Promise Volunteers
Thank you to everyone who volunteered over the past three weeks to help with preparing meals and spending time with the families, as well as providing groceries and other necessities.  You are appreciated!
Support Sunday's Soup Kitchen
Funds are needed to cover the cost of food for the soup kitchen at St. Paul’s this Sunday afternoon, which St. John’s is sponsoring. If you are willing to help, please put your donation in an envelope marked “soup kitchen” and place it in the offering.

Online Bible Study to Conclude May 24
This Tuesday, May 24th will be our final Bible Study for this program year.  Please join us on Tuesday at 11:00 am-12:00 pm via our worship Zoom link.
Sesquicentennial Memorial Day Unity March & Ceremony
As part of Wilmette’s Sesquicentennial Celebration, the Sesquicentennial Planning Committee is observing Memorial Day (May 30) by conducting a special Unity March and Ceremony to honor the 110 Wilmette residents who died while serving their country in time of war. Representatives from Wilmette's civic, service, governmental, religious, business, and other organizations/groups are invited to participate in the march and attend the ceremony. Pastor Allison will be leading a group from St. John’s in marching together. If you’d like to march, please meet at the St. Joseph’s parking lot at 9:30 am on Monday, May 30. The 0.9-mile march will begin at 10:30 am and conclude at Village Hall for the ceremony.
Sunday, May 22
9:30 am  In-person-only Worship with Children’s Church
10:30 am  Coffee Hour
1:00 pm  Soup Kitchen at St. Paul’s
Tuesday, May 24
11:00 am  Zoom-only Bible Study
Thursday, May 26
12:00 pm  Zoom-only Men’s Lunch
Sunday, May 29
9:30 am  Hybrid Worship with Children's Church
10:30 am  Coffee Hour
Sunday Sermon Video

If you missed last week's service or want to watch it again, you can view it here.
First Communion Sunday
Preaching & Presiding Minister:  The Rev. Allison Bengfort
Assisting Minister:  Molly Bolash
Guest Pianist:  Christine Verity
Cantor:  Stephanie Chee
Minister of the Word:  Max Beck
Children's Church:  Chris Maglocci & Erin Rasmussen
Usher:  Bill Kaspar
Altar Guild:  Jan Wendel
Through your investment in this community, we can continue to grow in love and life together. 
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St John's Lutheran Church
1235 Wilmette Ave. Wilmette, IL 60091

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