Nehemiah is our example of how to do justice in our community (Neh. 5: 1-13).
While in Jerusalem, Nehemiah hears of the economic exploitation of the people by public officials -- who charged unfair interest rates to take advantage of the poor and vulnerable people of the land. They were displacing people from their homes and selling their children into slavery.
Nehemiah called a "great assembly" in Jerusalem and the entire comment came out to confront the nobles and officials (of their time) and asked them to stop their unjust lending practices. They demanded that the land, children, and money from interest be returned to the people immediately.
Faced with the power of a great assembly, the nobles and officials agreed to do as they were asked and stop their unjust ways.
One individual congregation doesn't have enough people-power to hold systems and those in power accountable for justice.
So, we build our power by joining up with other churches across Polk County through PEACE, and together we exercise our influence by turning out thousands of people to our own Nehemiah Action to get commitments from public officials to accomplish needed changes in our community.
As a member of PEACE, a congregation is able to work with others across denominational, political, and racial lines to effectively live out God's call to "do justice" and to love our neighbor.
The Polk Ecumenical Action Council for Empowerment (PEACE) is a congregation-based community organization whose purpose is to build justice ministries and train members from diverse congregations to work together to identify root causes of community problems and to take action to resolve them. The purpose of the organization is to build a strong coalition capable of negotiating the interests of our community with a special concern for the vulnerable. Through PEACE, people across the county can come together to powerfully address the needs in their own communities.
Mission and Purpose
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices -- mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law -- justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former." -Matthew 23:23
Jesus is quoting the prophet Micah (6:8) who is reminding the children of Israel of God's three major requirements: Faithfulness, Mercy and Justice.
To do justice, we need power. As an individual, we don't have the influence necessary to hold our officials with power accountable. But by coming together with other congregations, we have the people power we need to "do justice."
How do we "Do Justice?"
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