God is ultimate champion of justice

Church Corner

I’ve been thinking about some things Jesus said concerning the kind of people we should be if we really want to be God’s children. Here are three tough ones:

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

God blesses those who are gentle and lowly, for the whole earth will belong to them.

God blesses those who are hungry and thirsty for justice, for they will receive it in full.

(Matthew 5:4-6 NLT)

Blessed means that God is showing his favor, or his approval of something or someone, so it’s a little hard to grasp the idea that mourning has God’s blessing or approval, isn’t it? I mean, the idea of being comforted later hardly seems equal to the pain of mourning now. But keep in mind that God’s approval, his favor, his positive response toward mourning is not based on any sense that mourning is inherently good, but that God’s positive response is aimed at those who are mourning. God responds to those who mourn with sympathy, with concern, with his “blessing.” God’s heart is always with those who mourn, for he also has much to mourn in this creation gone astray. He mourns the senseless violence, the brutal mistreatment of the weak and helpless, the pain of hunger and thirst, the heartache of sickness and death and his promise here is, they will be comforted.

Just as he approves of those who mourn, God shows his favor to those who remain gentle and lowly, meek in many translations, those who do not let the “way the world works” redefine their own character. Yet the assertion they shall inherit the earth seems so far off as to be possible only in some distant future, so that it can be hard to operate meekly. In fact, we make jokes about how much of the earth the meek inherit – six feet of it is what we estimate they get. We know that the go-getters go get it and the meek and gentle get what’s left over – if there is anything left over. Enough about our financial and economic crisis, but do remember what the go-getters have gotten us into, please? And let’s not join them and make it worse for each other.

And then God says his approval, his blessing is on those who hunger and thirst for justice (NLT) or “righteousness.” That means when things are right, when things are what they should be. That doesn’t seem to be the way it is much of the time. Things are often not right, not just, not fair. But in spite of the world’s injustices, of which there are many, God is the ultimate champion of justice. This morning I am sitting in the jury pool room thinking about our justice system and the many ways in which it seems unwieldy, cumbersome and even prone to injustice at times. But then I think if we flawed and imperfect people can long for justice, then how much more does God desire justice for all people? And I wonder sometimes if we are really sympathetic enough to comfort the mournful; meek enough to make living together on this earth joyful and safe; and hungry for justice for everyone?

So my prayer for the Plateau (and the world) is, “May we become the people whose lives are comforting to the mournful, act gently to those around us and diligently seek justice for every person.”

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