During the course of the year, CSM hosts multiple groups of students from around the country who travel to Birmingham on mission to help tackle the distinctive issues related poverty and racial division. Recent visiting college volunteer teams from Clemson and Georgia Tech were challenged by Fran Sciacca in four morning sessions to embrace their sense of mission as advocates of God’s vision for the poor and powerless and “The Restoration of Shalom.”

Fran shared that “advocacy” is restoring peace in the lives of those who cannot restore it themselves.  “And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray unto Jehovah for it; for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.”  (Jeremiah 29:7) “Advocacy” is an expression of who Yahweh is, not merely something that He does: “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.” (Psalm 68:5)

“advocacy” is restoring peace in the lives of those who cannot restore it themselves.

Jesus made it an inescapable truth that there is an unbreakable connection between the “mystery hidden for ages” [i.e., the “Gospel”] and how we understand the heart of God. (Lk 4:16-19). “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:31-40)

When Jesus spoke in the synagogue, He quoted from this passage in Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion– to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.” (Isaiah 61:1-4)

We have immense appreciation for Fran Sciacca and the time and energy he gave to challenge us all from Scripture. Everyone’s heart has been pierced since he reminded us all of the weight of glory we carry as well as the good news and hope we have to share with the poor and the powerless. Hands of Hur is the teaching and equipping ministry of Fran Sciacca; a unique, non-profit Bible-teaching ministry committed to biblical integrity and cultural relevance by revitalizing and strengthening those engaged in Christian ministry, just as Aaron and Hur held up the arms of Moses during Israel’s battle with the Amalekites in Exodus 17.