We asked members of our staff to share what moves them to do justice work. This month Barbara Baylor, Minister for Health Care Justice, reflects on scripture from which she draws strength to maintain a lifetime of advocacy for Justice.
Let Us Not Grow Weary in Well-Doing
As a young girl my mother was my role model for social justice and community work. My mother made sure that I was involved large social justice movements but also, social justice on a personal and community/neighborhood level.
I remember marching in front of City Hall for civil and voting rights shouting this chant – “No Justice, No Peace!”
I remember when a white teacher smacked a first grade class mate so hard in the nose and it bled all over his shirt. It was my mother who led the protest against this teacher and against extreme abuse of young black children in the elementary school. Again we shouted “No Justice, No Peace.”
I even remember shouting this chant at a health care reform rally earlier this year. As your Minister for Health Care Justice, I participated in the faith community’s movement to promote the moral imperative of health care as a reason for health care reform. I witnessed the massive opposition for doing what was right and good for all.
My mind recalled how at an early age in Sunday school, I learned and memorized the scripture verse “And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season, we shall reap much if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9). Of course at that time, my Sunday school friends and I thought that if we did what was right and treated others well, we would reap gifts.
As I grew and continued to hear and say this scripture, I realized that it was not about receiving a tangible gift, but about pleasing God and doing God’s will right here on earth. I realized that it was about knowing in my heart and soul that I did all I could (whenever the opportunity or occasion arose) to assist someone who needed my help. Over the years, this verse has also come to mean doing all I can do to make right systemic injustices that keep people from being whole. This verse has been one the key foundations of my life and my work. When I even think of giving up, this word gives me strength to continue the journey.
We may never be able to stop shouting the chant, “No Justice, No Peace, but I believe we can try if we persevere in doing good to the end of life. I want to be God’s hands and heart on earth and continually be moved by grace and compassion to eliminate social inequities and injustices. As the faith community we must fight the good fight and leave the victory to God’s grace. Bishop Desmond Tutu says: “That this is a moral universe and despite all the evidence that seems to be to the contrary, there is no way that evil and injustice and oppression and lies can have the last word…that is what has upheld the morale of our people, to know that in the end good will prevail.”
I believe that there will be justice in health care when we truly understand that we are our “brothers and sister’s keeper and that our health is inextricably linked with one another. Surely there will be obstacles and stumbling blocks, but if we stay steadfast, don’t become disheartened, lose heart, grow weary or faint we will see the realm of God on earth during our lifetime. That’s what I’m counting on.