Saturday, September 05, 2015

God's Saving Justice

  The "back story" for this week's sermon is the biblical teaching about justice. Justice is a relative term in our society.  Two parties come to court, each with their own idea of what justice looks like in their case, and the court has the responsibility of weighing the facts and rendering a decision.  It seems that most of us see justice as whatever is good for me.  
  The Bible has a very different idea about justice, however.  You could say that the Bible’s view of justice is very “results-oriented”!  The Psalm 146 spells it out fairly clearly: prisoners are set free, the blind receive their sight, those who are bowed down are lifted up, the resident immigrants have someone to watch over them, and the widows and orphans are supported. God's justice is a justice that saves us.
  Simply put, God’s justice is what creates the conditions in which all people can thrive, especially those who are downtrodden by society as a whole.  God’s justice does not favor the rich and powerful, the privileged and successful, or the beautiful and the famous.  God’s justice makes it possible for everyone to thrive—rich and poor; white, black, brown, and yellow; tall and short, thin and overweight, nearsighted and balding, young and old.  It does not discriminate based on race, creed, color, or national origin.  It does not discriminate based on gender, age, disability, or political affiliation. God's saving justice is for all people equally.
  One thing we might miss about this Psalm and the way it's worded is the affirmation that this is always the way God operates. The Hebrew Bible clearly depicts these actions as characteristic of who God is. God always acts in this way. Thus when Psalm 146 says that God "keeps faith forever," it's saying that God always carries out this kind of saving justice because it's the very nature of who God is!

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