“What should we do then?” the crowd asked. John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them. Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.” – Luke 3:10-14
John speaks about what to do while we wait for Jesus.
Have you ever thought about the best way to wait for Jesus? In this verse this is exactly what John speaks about.
John tells the crowd to prepare for Jesus the one who is coming. They ask what they should do. How should we prepare while we wait for the one he speaks about – the one whose sandals John himself says he is unworthy to untie.
This verse is striking in that John does not suggest religious practises, such as fasting or praying. John tells them to act fairly, not take more payment than they should, don’t rip people off, don’t lie about others and be content with what they have. He asks them to act justly and love compassionately while they wait.
In communities where disruption such as natural disasters are common, there is an element of preparing and waiting in the everyday. The justice we want to see in our programs in the everyday and while we wait, is that people with disabilities begin to experience opportunities equal to others. This means seeing justice in our time, as we wait.
When it comes to preparing for disasters, inclusion of people with disabilities is crucial. One of CBMs programs on the floodplain of Bangladesh is a great example where people with disabilities, their local community and the government have together built community preparedness and resilience to flooding.
At the start most of the community and government were quite unaware of the significant disadvantage people with disabilities can face daily. They were equally unaware of the profound danger and risk they faced when floods came. The long-term result in good preparedness is people with disabilities are actively engaged, represented and included.
The whole community benefits.
While we wait to celebrate Jesus’ birth, consider what it means to bring justice while we wait.
One small step – Do you know someone with a disability, and are you aware how you might better include them in what you are doing? Are you aware of doing things which might be unintentionally excluding others?
Edwina Faithfull Farmer, Director – International Programs at CBM Australia.