Although 2020 has not felt jubilant in many ways, this month we pause to remember the blessings God has poured out on and through the Christian Service Mission as we celebrate our fiftieth year of ministry. Fifty years ago, Founder Johnny Lynch desired to build an organization that served the least of these by using scripture as its guide. In the 40th year, I came to CSM to focus the mission specifically on the message found in Isaiah 61, which Jesus read aloud as our calling for today.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:17-21).
This 50th year is our “Year of Jubilee,” and we are challenged this year to understand and clarify the gospel we live out in society. Before Jubilee could begin in biblical times, the Day of Atonement was held to rectify issues of sin. Today, I believe the sins of injustice need to be recognized, addressed, and confessed before we can celebrate. To do so, we must turn to scripture. Within scripture, we find the answers to living out the promised peace of God in our lives and establishing shalom in our nation.
The gospel message is clear that it is Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection for the forgiveness of sin which allows us to have an eternal destiny in glory with Jesus. It is in light of the great impact of this gospel that we have all been called to live here and now. The measure of our realization of God’s outstanding love is in the impact we have on all of society with all of humanity with God’s moral laws by how we live our daily lives. The equitable and impartial application of God’s truth should influence every area of our lives in society. This gospel gives us our mission, and it provides CSM its mission to impact our communities with “good works” that first bring glory to God and allow us to “…let our light shine before others, so that they may see [our] good works and give glory to [our] Father in heaven” Matthew 5:16.
This may look like the good work of serving the widows and the poor to improve their homes’ livability; the good work of serving food to more than 77,000 families since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Or perhaps it is the good work of mobilizing over 1,000 volunteers to work together to help prepare food for those families in need, as well as the good work of bringing pastors and leaders together to learn from each other and be challenged by each other. These works proclaim the gospel- the gospel of the kingdom that Jesus preached about in Luke 4 that not only saves us from hell but makes an impact on the world by bringing glory to God and new believers into the Kingdom. This is our year of Jubilee, the proclamation (salvation) and the demonstration (righteousness and justice lived out) of the gospel for our world to see.
We celebrate 50 years of service to the Birmingham area with the gospel he has empowered us to use in order to bring clarity of good news through righteous living and justice to all humanity.