Cry for Justice


The Cry for Justice

Psalm 142

Prayer for Deliverance from Persecutors

A Maskil of David. When he was in the cave. A Prayer.

With my voice I cry to the Lord;

with my voice I make supplication to the Lord.

I pour out my complaint before him;

I tell my trouble before him.

When my spirit is faint,

you know my way.

In the path where I walk

they have hidden a trap for me.

Look on my right hand and see—

there is no one who takes notice of me;

no refuge remains to me;

no one cares for me.

I cry to you, O Lord;

I say, “You are my refuge,

my portion in the land of the living.”

Give heed to my cry,

for I am brought very low.

Save me from my persecutors,

for they are too strong for me.

Bring me out of prison,

so that I may give thanks to your name.

The righteous will surround me,

for you will deal bountifully with me.

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

A Life Pleasing to God

Finally, brothers and sisters, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus that, as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God (as, in fact, you are doing), you should do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from fornication; that each one of you know how to control your own body in holiness and honor, not with lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one wrong or exploit a brother or sister in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, just as we have already told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness. Therefore whoever rejects this rejects not human authority but God, who also gives his Holy Spirit to you.

The cry for justice rings out across the world. You have to stuff your ears to keep from hearing it in our ever-globalizing world. Those who yearn for justice in their own life often feel that justice left undone in their lives comes at the fault of the rest of the world… but it is hard to lay the responsibility upon every single person and thing that crosses our path (though some try), so more often, we opt for the second best option of blaming God, or so we like to think.

If you take a long view though, it is kind of ironic that God, the one we sometimes choose to blame for injustice in the world, created this world perfect. Even if we get really nitpicky and claim that it wasn’t perfect, because there was one initial problem with the world: that man was alone… God took his time and made man and woman one at a time instead of just both at once (or did He? and because of that there was a waiting period on the world’s perfection. Again, it’s easier to blame God than to look at the bigger picture.

Brokenness was not caused by God, it was caused by human beings. Both of them. They both hid after they took something they were asked not to take by the one who knew the garden and themselves better than any mind in all creation. Humanity transgressed and broke everything – and it was God who made the first call for justice in our world! And He has not been repaid yet.

We continue to sin, day in and day out, stepping on each other, breaking each other, and the world around us, and it was never ours to break. If God implemented the “you break it, you buy it rule” we would not be able to pay. Literally. We don’t even have the right currency to redeem our world, to make things right.

So we are stuck with this uncomfortable sense of injustice and the knowledge that, it is really on us and on those who came before us, and we don’t have any real answers ourselves. It doesn’t matter if we are globally-minded citizens, outraged by environmental and socioeconomic concerns across the world from us, or if we focus our minds down into a tribalistic manner and seek justice for ourselves and those like us. No matter where we turn, we cannot shrug off the responsibility we play in adding to the mess around us… and my own philosophy has often been: if you don’t have anything helpful to say, keep quiet. (Borrowed from Socrates)

What is your cry for justice?

What responsibility do you take for injustice in the world?

What can you do today to make a difference for the better? What help will you need?

The Promise of Peace


The Promise of Peace

Genesis 1-2:4a

Six Days of Creation and the Sabbath1

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

So God created humankind in his image,

in the image of God he created them;

male and female he created them.

God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.

These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.

2 Corinthians 13:11-13

Final Greetings and Benediction

Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

The Promise of Peace creates a sense of paradox for us. We yearn for peace that goes beyond mere tranquility into true harmony. Yet our experience shows a certain futility in finding it in this life. When we Cannot find it, we try to make by imposing justice and order around us. This experience, at best, typically ends the same as the story of the woman caught in adultery. Everyone drops their rocks and goes home. The older, more experienced folks go first. We just cannot stand to be held accountable to the same standards we want everyone else to follow. Even those Type 1 personality types who obsess over rules have a shadow side whose motivation is to understand and control the rules in order to escape being ruled over themselves.

God created our world to work in peace and harmony. It’s original state was not the one of separation and self-destruction we know today. Even those three short lines describing all of humanity, male and female, united together in God’s image seems like an impossible dream. Is paradise forever lost to us? We yearn for peace and harmony, yet cannot find and cannot make it. It would be a cruel joke of life to be left here. So where is our hope? Our hope is found in God, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The truth is, peace does occur. Harmony happens… and every time it does, it is a miracle. Whether we are the musicians playing our part, the conductor communicating between the players, or the composers silently and invisibly plotting the details, it is the Spirit of God, responding to our invitation and mutual submission that weaves it all together. The path to peace is by recognizing our own part in it and playing it with integrity, in connection with those around us. It goes beyond base appeasement and compromise toward the edification (or building up) of the community and the individuals within it2. In short, the motivation of true peace is to join with the Holy Spirit and each other, to lift everyone closer to God, to the best of our ability.

Where do you see peace today?

How is the Holy Spirit prompting you to contribute to peace?

  1. (Gen 2:4b—9; Job 38:4–11; Jn 1:1–5)
  2. as opposed to only the community, as in utilitarianism