Scripture Readings: Proverbs 21:13-15, Matthew 23:23-25
When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous, but dismay to evildoers. (Proverbs 21:15)
Justice and mercy and faithfulness—these you ought to have done. (Matthew 23:23b)
From the beginning the Book of Proverbs sets out to provide wisdom and instruction in “wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity” (1:2). Throughout its oracles of wisdom, the call to act justly and to pursue righteousness is a constant refrain, relentlessly shared and affirmed as more acceptable to God than sacrifice. In a one-sentence pearl of wisdom, the speaker testifies that the righteous rejoice when justice is done. But justice upsets the workers of iniquity. As Christians, across our separations, we should be united in joy when justice is done, and prepared to stand together when this justice brings opposition.
When we do what the Creator requires and dare to pursue justice, we may find ourselves in unrestrained resistance and opposition to any attempt to make things right for the most vulnerable among us.
Those who benefit from the systems and structures strengthened by white supremacy and other oppressive ideologies such as “casteism” and patriarchy will seek to delay and deny justice, often violently. But to seek justice is to strike at the heart of the powers, making space for God’s just ordering and enduring wisdom in a world all too often unmoved by suffering.
And yet, there is joy in doing what is right. There is joy in affirming that “Black Lives Matter” in the pursuit of justice for God’s oppressed, dominated, and exploited beloved. There is joy in observing Thursdays in Black – the movement in which we say a big No to gender-based sexual violence.
There is joy in seeking reconciliation with other Christians so that we may better serve the proclamation of the Reign of God. Let that joy manifest itself through our shared experiences of God’s presence in community in the known and unknown spaces where God journeys with us toward healing, reconciliation, and unity in Christ.
Christian Unity Challenge: How can we as members churches of the World Communion of Reformed Churches support one another to withstand the opposition that may follow from doing justice?
by Rev. Dr. Japhet Ndhlovu
Executive Minister – Church in Mission Unit – The United Church of Canada