What comes to mind when we think about the word justice?.
Sometimes, the word as we hear it today sounds almost vengeful: “I demand justice!” someone intones, with the clear implication that they have been wronged and want something exacted from a guilty – sometimes unnamed - party.
Humankind has been wrestling with the true meaning of justice for a very long time. About six hundred years before the life of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah spoke to the broken hearted people of the broken land of Israel. Like many of the great prophets, he alternated between scolding them in God’s name for their faithlessness and comforting them with God’s enduring promises. Here he translates – sort of – God’s promise: “… For a teaching will go out from me, and my justice for a light to the peoples.”
What does God’s justice look like? “A light to the peoples”? All peoples?
This way of describing justice has a different hue to it than the angry cry of someone whose Jet-Ski has just been vandalized. Justice looks like one thing to him or her; it looks quite different to someone who has been systematically denied the blessings of being fully included in the community.
There is a whole lot of grieving going on these days. It may be our own private grief that seems unable to be consoled away. It may be a vast cloud of grief about which we can barely speak, since it spreads from Ferguson, Missouri to Gaza to Ukraine to Syria to families and villages ravaged by Ebola. And beyond – or blended into – this cry of grief is our shared cry for justice. We struggle to know exactly what that justice will look like, but we can take comfort in the hint that it will be “a light.”
A light to all people. Including us. Including the most broken and powerless.
We invite you to worship with us. A light to all people. Including us; including you. Sunday at 10 AM.
*“What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6: 8*