Lent 2, March 13, 2022: Embody Justice
Jesus cared about justice. He cared about the agrarian crisis that workers were undergoing in the 1st century; he cared about the family farmland that was being snatched up and the waters that had been fished for generations becoming over-fished. He cared about the heavy Roman taxes that workers were being subjected to and the system of debt that these taxes often created. Jesus saw what injustices created by systems that use people as pawns do to people, and he refused to participate in that kind of kingdom.
In light of what Jesus stood for, he rode into Jerusalem in protest and contrast to how lord Caesar would have entered a conquered city. Jesus entered not on a warhorse, but on a donkey. He was surrounded by disciples with palm branches instead of spear tips. He came knowing that he would be tortured and murdered. Yet, he brought his body to Jerusalem, for he would not participate in the rotten power system that named Caesar “lord” and oppressed so many. The embodiment of the crucifixion is God’s deep embodiment within human suffering, injustice, and heartbreak.
The Gospels are clear: Jesus cares about justice. So, too, should we. We care not just about immediate needs like food, clothing, and housing, but also about why those immediate needs exist in the first place. Why were these people hungry? Why were they thirsty? Why did they have no clothes, and why were they in prison? In other words, we have a Gospel imperative to look upstream at what is polluting the water.
Justice-making has starting points that include examining one’s own biases and origins of those biases, lamenting the way you have acted on those negative biases, examining the privileges that you have based on various identities that you hold, learning about systems that hold certain identities supreme, praying for God’s direction, listening to the voices of persons who have experienced injustices and learning from them the ways that they seek justice, partnering with organizations and organizers who have been doing this work for many years, adopting a sense of humility that allows you to learn and invites others to learn with you, and joining communities that can hold each other accountable in doing this good, holy work. This work of justice-making can lead to an abundance in life that is liberating and redemptive. Thanks be to God for the chance to do the work and a wonderful community to do it within.
Scripture: Luke 13:31-35
Song: Ella’s Song by Sweet Honey in the Rock
Write or draw a prayer that embodies how you understand a God who cares about justice for all creation. What does God’s kin-dom (kinship relationships) or kingdom look like?