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The Power of God: Week 5 | Day 3

The Marks of Love are not some check-list we need to get busy working on. Br. Mark Brown encourages us, before setting out to “accomplish” the fourth Mark of Love, to reflect on how the power of God has transformed unjust structures of society in the past.

Question: How has the power of God transformed unjust structures of society?
Share your answer in the comments below or using #5marksoflove
Activity: Icons of Hope


Transcript: The five Marks of Mission might come across to you as a kind of to-do list, or even a checklist, of things you ought to be doing.  But I think it’s especially important to remember that these are signs of God’s love already in action in the world, and they have been since the time of Jesus.  The power of God has worked through the church, through the people of God, to transform unjust structures of society, it’s been happening all along.  Not perfectly, not completely, there is still much to do.  But before you decide what you’re going to do, we need to think about how has the power of God worked through God’s people in the past, and presently in the moment, to transform unjust structures of society.

– Br. Mark Brown

Question: How has the power of God transformed unjust structures of society?

Week 5 Activity: Icons of Hope
Icons are images that open us up. They act as windows that let the light of God shine in. This week’s activity invites you to compose your own “icon” for the Kingdom of God. Draw or paste in pictures that help you recall God’s vision, to create a collage that lets God’s light shine in.

Watch Video Guidance | Download Activity as PDF | Sample Completed Activity

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7 Comments

  1. Bryan Cook on March 29, 2017 at 09:51

    Historically, it has always taken some form of “force” to change unjust structures of society.
    The worst force is warfare, so destructive of all that God wants man to be; and warfare has often replaced one unjust structure with another….power, pride, prejudice and posession are the primary motives…sometimes it is a madness of an individual.
    The second, and positive force for change is within individuals or groups of like souls who are willing to sacrifice themselves, physically or in the eyes of society to ameliorate and change oppressive structures…..and have the staying power over decades to do it.
    The third, and again positive force is to act within our daily lifes to lead, by example and within our workplace and societal organisations including the Church, to incrementally improve the lives of others and of future generations.
    These are clearly gross generalisations but I am now asking myself where I should take a stand within each of these three forces. I pray to God to guide me and put positive opportunites before me.

  2. Jessie Mantle on March 29, 2017 at 00:07

    I believe that God works through individuals. I think there have been changes in the structures of society through the work of individuals fighting just causes – individuals who have acknowledged their motivation as led by their spiritual life as instruments of God e.g. Wilberforce in England and his leadership against slavery ; Martin Luther King in the USA; Ghandi fighting in India for a just society; Bishop Tutu and Trevor Huddleston in south Africa fighting again apartheid. Individuals known to us personally are living examples of how we can work to change the culture of society which can lead to transforming unjust structures.

    I agree with Margaret that the church has also created unjust structures but this is balanced by the many ways in which church members have gone forth to create transformation. While the sick and lowly are our concern, I think that the social structures that create the freedom and the constraints on how we live out our faith must also be of concern.

  3. Verlinda on March 28, 2017 at 13:31

    God’s power has worked through people famous and unknown (outside of their own circles) to transform unjust structures, through grand gestures (the Emancipation Proclamation, the Declaration of Indpedence, the Civil Rights Act, women’s suffrage) and the small ones (feeding the hungry, offering a refuge to the poor, teaching a child to read). I believe God honors all the gestures–and I try very hard not to get so overwhelmed with the size of the challenges that I become paralyzed.

  4. David on March 28, 2017 at 12:17

    Unjust power structures of society have risen and fallen throughout history, fallenness mostly through structural failure due to their own weight. It is not the Church’s obligation nor duty to transform society by proactive means, but to change minds and hearts through the medium of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The sick and lowly are our concern, not the powerful (pseudo) although the Gospel must reach them as well. Who did Jesus spend most of His time with? I believe the common folk. His adversaries were the power structures of (Jewish) religiosity. The political power structures of society were but pawns which meant our salvation through his death (on their part) and resurrection (on His Father’s part). Only on His return will the Kingdom come and the societal power structures be vanquished. Meanwhile, it is our duty to proclaim the “Good News”, that the Kingdom will come in our own and other’s minds and hearts through His transforming power. If that change of mind and heart means those of the socially powerful ilk and thus society, so be it, but that is not our call.

  5. Suzanne Haraburd on March 28, 2017 at 10:10

    A few days ago, I was reminded God’s power to transform unjust structures by re-reading the words of the Declaration of Independence and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, at their memorials in Washington, D.C.

  6. Margaret A Fletcher on March 28, 2017 at 09:03

    Dear Br. Mark,
    Has not the church created unjust power structures or at least unwritten them as much as it may have helped to undo them?
    Margo

    • Stan on March 28, 2017 at 22:16

      Margaret,
      The “church” does lots of things which people decide it should do. God, however, does what God decides to do.

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