In the last 50 years, the Social Creed has been mostly sidelined by more conservative UMC congregations or promoted by more liberal congregations. These petty caricatures guide many people’s expectations of a church but they should not guide our understanding of statements of faith like the Social Creed.
The final word on all our social relationships does not come from anthropology or sociology or any other field, it comes from God. When we speak of creation or human rights or or the rights of workers, ultimately this comes from who God is and who God has revealed Godself to be through the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. As Tisha Rajenda says, "the whole Bible, rather than just a handful of texts, supplies a moral vision for the Christian life" (Migrants and Citizens, 95). How Christians relate to others and to the Lord begins with who God is. We try to live out what God has done, is doing, and will do. We try to participate in the inbreaking Kingdom of God by being the hands and feet of Jesus. This means announcing Good News to the captives, but also manifesting life in the world.
How can we be a community that manifests life? I think that that is the ultimate call of the Social Creed. The Kingdom of Heaven is not a far off thing. It is a right here thing, and we show this kingdom in how we act and love. Are we people of the light? Do we treat our neighbor as if Jesus is Lord or as if we are? Do we treat our world as if Jesus is Lord or if we are? Do we treat our workers or co-workers as if Jesus is Lord or as if we are?
May our final word in all that we do be Jesus is Lord. Therefore let us live into that reality today by treating others justly and working towards the liberation and freedom of all people, working towards an end to all forms of oppression and healing for all of creation.
We believe in the present and final triumph of God’s Word in human affairs and gladly accept our commission to manifest the life of the gospel in the world. Amen.