God’s Vision of the Common Good

January 31, 2017

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 58:1-12

Is not this the fast that I choose:
   to loose the bonds of injustice,
   to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
   and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
   and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
   and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
   and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator shall go before you,
   the glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
   you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. –Isaiah 58:6-9

One of the positives that comes from political discord is we each must grapple with what it is we hold dear. I find it intriguing that we make a big deal out of some issues that are barely mentioned in scripture or not mentioned at all while turning our backs on ways of being that are mentioned throughout scripture multiple times, even commanded by God. Welcoming the stranger is an example. Loving our neighbors is another. These are both subset actions of the umbrella calling to do justice.

Doing justice implies the need to have structures and processes in place for societies to operate in an orderly and fair fashion. The United States functions within a representative democracy with a checks and balance system among three branches of governance; Executive, Judicial, and Legislative. The purpose of such a government is to provide for the Common Good of all its citizens. Such systems can be traced to the beginning of history. For example, Deuteronomy 26.13 describes the care required by the community of faith for widows and orphans.

We are called to do justice as individuals and communities of faith and as citizens of this country. Addressing that calling is challenging when there exists conflict among these entities. Such conflict requires us to reach deeper into the wellspring of God’s love for guidance.

What do we hold dear?

Prayer: Lord, I wonder sometimes how you feel when you receive prayers from your followers that are diametrically opposed. How do you sort that out? Please help us each to have a better and clearer understanding of your vision for us and guide us to find the Common Good for all your children. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the new Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.