“Justice is what love looks like in public” –Cornell West. Today the YWAM community that I am a part of is going a day without shoes. Now going a day without shoes is just one step towards doing justice.
Why shoes? “Many children in developing countries grow up barefoot. Whether at play, doing chores or going to school, these children are at risk. A leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted diseases, which can penetrate the skin through bare feet. Wearing shoes can help prevent these diseases, and the long-term physical and cognitive harm they cause. Wearing shoes also prevents feet from getting cuts and sores. Not only are these injuries painful, they also are dangerous when wounds become infected. Many times children can’t attend school barefoot because shoes are a required part of their uniform. If they don’t have shoes, they don’t go to school. If they don’t receive an education, they don’t have the opportunity to realize their potential.” taken from Toms.
We are not just going without shoes as a community, we are donating our shoes to those who have none. If we just take off our shoes and go the day with none it is good for us, but not for them. We need both. The reason we go without shoes is to empathize, pray for and engage with those with none. It can’t stop there though, or we are like the man who said to the person in need “i am sorry that you are in need, I hurt for you, but I am not going to help.” Jesus has some strong words to say about this.
So today we pray for those without shoes, and we give our shoes away. During our morning worship time we brought our shoes up to the front of the room and that is where they will stay till the day’s end. Then, we will take the shoes and give them to the poor in Mexico, those who are using their money to buy food, but don’t have enough to put shoes on their children’s feet.
This is an example of ‘doing justice’ and living our ‘love in public.’