Friday, September 21, 2007

For September 23 - A Just God

I like this picture. The caption, which isn't here, is supposed to read, "Liberty loves Justice." May it be so.

The passage in Luke 18 (to the right) is almost always talked about as a story about prayer. How the poor old lady prayed her way into an answer at last. "Bug God with your prayers and he'll finally have to answer you" - that seems to the the lesson most often gleaned from the passage. Luke even tells us, at the start of the story, what we are supposed to get out of it. But wait a second...though there's a lesson about persistence here, Jesus' parable really seems to be about Justice. Four times in this short story, justice is mentioned. Jesus himself says the point of the story is that God won't put off justice for his people forever - because God is just.
The prophets are absolutely packed with teaching, challenges, and warnings about God's justice and what he expects of us (Micah 6:6-8).
Passages that speak of God's righteous judgments against injustice flow from the prophets: Amos 5:23-25; Malachi 2:17-3:5; Amos 8:1-8; Habakkuk 2:2-14, and countless others.
But in our comfortable churches and homes we care more about "just us" than Justice. I know I do most of the time. I have to get jarred out of my self focus to do much about the injustices I see.
Gavin S. took me to a great New Wine, New Wineskins dinner last night where my comfort was disturbed enough to get me off my butt and at least try to go do something this morning that I knew was the right thing to do.
My wife Ana is dealing with a situation at work right now where she has to "fight" almost daily for equal services to be provided to the ELL kids she teaches. All kids who are delayed in learning qualify for special help. But that special help doesn't go to the ELL kids because it's even more work for the school staff. So a small percentage of the delayed ELL kids get extra help while almost all of the non-ELL kids get extra. Justice calls for Ana to be a voice for those who can't cry out for themselves; to see that they are given a fair shake and equal services. But it's tiring, frustrating, and sometimes seems so very pointless. Justice isn't easy. What else is new? Your thoughts, your ideas - let 'em flow like justice!