Psalm 146, Isaiah 59:9-19, Acts 9:1-20
Another child separated from her parents at the border.
“We wait for justice, but there is none”
Another blatant lie and cover up by those in power.
“Truth stumbles in the public square”
Another mass shooting. Another hate crime. Another political scandal.
“We look for light, but all is darkness”
These words from Isaiah ring just as true today as they did when they were written 2,500 years ago. It seems we are just as likely to discover Neverland or Atlantis as we are to live in a society where truth and justice matter.
These words of Isaiah, coupled with the passage in the Psalms, prompts us to consider two things. First, we are challenged to consider the ways in which we perpetuate injustice. We may not actively do the injustice, but many of us directly benefit from the fruits of injustice and oppression. We benefit from economic structures that perpetuate income inequality. We buy products manufactured in ways that destroy the earth and dehumanize our brothers and sisters across the globe. These passages call us to recognize that we stand idly by when truth stumbles in the public square. They call us to recognize that our “transgressions before [God] are many and our sins testify against us.” As people of God we are called to pursue justice, speak truth, and let the light of Christ shine through us, yet too often we fail.
Secondly, these passages remind us where justice comes from, where to place our hope. Too often, when we witness injustice we turn to those in power. We place our hope in a political party or an individual to fix society’s woes. The Psalmist reminds us not to put our hope in our fellow humans. Rather we are prompted to place our hope in the God who took on flesh and became human. The God who was born into a poor family, regularly hung out with the outcasts of society, and was unjustly murdered by those in power.
As Christians we worship a God who identifies with the oppressed, with those who are most impacted by injustice. We are called to repent and turn away from the ways we practice injustice and turn toward God. And in doing so we find our only hope of living in communities marked by justice, truth, righteousness, and love.
Josh TenHaken-Riedel, Assistant Director of Spiritual Formation