Justice is God’s Purpose

Living in the Spirit
August 9, 2017

Scripture Reading: Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b

O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name,
   make known his deeds among the peoples.
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
   tell of all his wonderful works.
Glory in his holy name;
   let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Seek the Lord and his strength;
   seek his presence continually.
Remember the wonderful works he has done,
   his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered,
O offspring of his servant Abraham,
   children of Jacob, his chosen ones. –Psalm 105:1-6

I am a great creature of habits. I automatically move through my morning routine. While still in bed I pray and do a yoga routine. Once up, I eat breakfast while listening to a morning news show and scanning three newspapers. I blame my father for my addiction to news. I wonder how he would deal with a phone pinging the latest catastrophe while it is still happening. By 9:00 am, I am not only ready for some scripture but need to be reminded that God is working [God’s] purpose out*. Psalm 105 reminds us of that. There is a lot right with the world, and there remains much to make right. It helps to know that God is working to make all things right. We call it justice.

How do we recognize God’s justice in a world filled with bigotry and hate? Looking back through the history of God where do we see justice unfolding? From that beginning, humans demanded the knowledge of good and evil. In so doing we gained the ability to know the difference between right and wrong. (Genesis 3) Such knowledge results in facing the consequences of our just and unjust actions. God dealt with our ancestors where they were in understand as he deals with us today. I do not know when I learned that the scripture an eye for an eye (Exodus 21:24) actually reduced punishment. Previously, gouging out an eye would have cost the perpetrator their life rather than letting the punishment fit the crime. Jesus cautioned us not to retaliate at all (Matthew 5) setting the stage for the restorative justice we pursue today.

Through all time, God sends us messengers one after another to save us from ourselves. We still learn much from the ancients and also from those speaking still today like the Reverend Doctor William Barber. It is important that we recognize the voice of God calling to us guiding us to choose the right.

Prayer: God of Justice, show us the right and empower our work toward justice for all. Amen.

*From hymn God is Working His Purpose Out by Arthur Campbell Ainger see at https://hymnary.org/text/god_is_working_his_purpose_out

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.