Last Friday I was in Oklahoma City speaking at one of our partnering gospel justice center’s annual fundraising breakfast. Trinity Legal Clinic believes in “Answering God’s call to seek justice and mercy by providing legal services to the poor and needy.”
I was moved at the breakfast by the story of John who showed up at City Rescue Mission homeless and in fear. Six years earlier police showed up at his home looking for him. In John’s neighborhood one didn’t rely on innocence, so he fled and had been separated from his friends and family. He was directed to Trinity’s legal clinic where a volunteer attorney looked John up in the system and found he had unpaid parking tickets. Sadly in some communities officers generate fear and John had lived in fear for six years. With the help of an attorney, John resolved his outstanding parking tickets and found new hope. He also got connected with employment and a church through the rescue mission.
Friday evening I spoke at a dinner of community leaders at Cross & Crown, another partnering ministry with Trinity Legal Clinic. Cross & Crown is a wonderful ministry that follows Christian Community Development Association’s approach to moving into a neighborhood and seeing the neighborhood transformed. Several houses around the converted church which used to be crack houses now were home to after school programs or being sold to residents. One of these residents, Arturo, came to this country with an eligible path to citizenship but the process was complex. Trinity Legal’s volunteer attorney helped him through the process and days before the event Arturo was sworn in as a new citizen. Cross & Crown helped him establish his own upholstery business and he was rising out of poverty. He and his family were serving those present as part of his way of saying thank you.
As I met with leaders of Trinity’s partnering ministries, I heard several stories of people who found themselves trapped in a complicated legal system, wary and fearful of the system, who found help and hope at Trinity Legal Clinic. These individuals were restored and now giving back through volunteer service. They were vibrant members of churches. They were climbing out of poverty.
I was blessed to stay in the home of Lloyd McAlister who was one of the founders of Trinity Legal Clinic. Lloyd is an estate planning attorney. Certainly he felt ill-equipped to address the legal needs of the poor. But Lloyd knew the second most prominent theme in the Bible is God’s heart for justice for the poor. The need was great. God was calling. Would he and others step outside their comfort zone to answer God’s call? They did and more than 1,000 lives have been impacted as a result.
This is the call of Gospel Justice. Will we step outside our comfort zone to serve wounded neighbor in need? When God called me, I put Him on hold. Not now – maybe later. Don’t put God on hold. Eventually I answered God’s call, and I am glad I did. You will be too. Answer His call. Listen to His voice and together let’s
Go and Do Likewise!