What is justice? A good place to start with this question is with its antithesis: What is injustice? We know it when we see it. We feel it deep down. It unsettles us. It hollows us out. It fires us up.
Racism. Abuse. Violence against the vulnerable. Genocide. Trafficking. Slavery. Oppressive poverty. Disease and death caused by environmental degradation.
This list could go on . . . and on . . . and on . . .
And it overwhelms us. Its weightiness can stop us in our tracks, can freeze us into inertia.
Can any one person actually fight these huge, systematic global problems? Is there really anything you or I can actually do?Take a look at little Ruby and find your answer.
Through the prophet Amos, God harshly called out his people on their injustice against the poor and vulnerable: “Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:23-24)
And through Isaiah, God rejected the empty religious rituals of his people and instead asked for this: “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.” (Isaiah 58:6-9)
Lord, help us find our voice — Our voice to speak out for the vulnerable! And our courage to evaluate our own choices and lifestyles – to make sacrifices and choices that align with mercy, with humility, with justice. Amen.