2012 Blog Archive

Faith Moment
December 17, 2012

This week as I watched the news reports on the tragic shootings in a Connecticut elementary school, my thoughts turned to justice. My heart longed for a world that would be different. I longed for a world of justice and peace.

In the movie Grand Canyon, there is a scene where an immigration attorney, stuck in traffic in his expensive car, decides to take some dark city streets as an alternative route home.  Predictably, his car stalls, and as he is trying to call for a tow truck, a gang of teenagers gathers around him, threatening and harassing the very out-of-place lawyer. 

As the gang members are closing in on him, the tow truck arrives.  They begin to threaten the tow truck driver as well, but he takes the leader of the gang aside and offers him something of a lesson in moral theology:   

"Man, the world ain't supposed to work like this," he says. "Maybe you don't know that, but this ain't the way it's supposed to be.  I'm supposed to be able to do my job without asking you if I can.  And that dude is supposed to be able to wait with his car without you ripping him off.  Everything's supposed to be different than what it is here."

Christians, civil rights activists, parents, and grandparents alike have had similar roles and similar lines.  They take us aside and emphatically declare, "This is not the way it's supposed to be!" 

Comparable, yet even more disturbed, were the cries of the Hebrew prophets of Scripture.  Isaiah wrote, "The envoys of peace weep bitterly. The highways lie waste… Covenants are broken; witnesses are despised; there is no regard for man" (Isaiah 33:7-8).  We might well join him in this cry as we hear news of innocent citizens, even children, falling victim to senseless acts of violence; of terrorism, war, and political turmoil around the world.

But why do we recognize indignities?  Why do want to scream "injustice!" when we stare into its cold eyes?  Why do we look at darkness and disease and declare, "This is not the way it's supposed to be!"  Perhaps we know inherently something we do not always recognize practically:  We were created for far more.

The prophets saw glaringly what we sense faintly.  To us, injustice is injurious to our sense of dignity.  But to the prophets, injustice was a catastrophic attack on the very character of God and the intrinsic dignity that God has given us.  “The spirit of man,” said Matthew Henry, “is the candle of God.”  Let us ever be sensitive to winds that try to extinguish life, and with burning hearts remember the significance of life that is made in the image of God.

With Love,

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