Creation, by God’s very pronouncement, is “very good” at its inception (Gen 1:31). Last week we explored the goodness of creation and this goodness, completeness, as providing a launching point for the biblical narrative from the perspective of justice.
Today, as we celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., let’s pray for that justice to come. Let’s give thanks to God for the work He has done and is doing in our nation. Let’s ask Him to bring forth the healing, reconciliation, and peace that Dr. King envisioned, lived, and died to inspire. Let’s ask the Lord to root out the racism hiding in our own hearts and help us show our children how to display His love for all people.
Last week we began to explore what the Bible says about this potentially nebulous concept of “justice,” trying to expand our vision beyond merely the punishment of the wrongdoer, towards a vision of the world where things work rightly, where things are in harmony. Where people, communities and nature itself, flourish. This, we saw, is what the Bible often refers to as shalom (“peace” in many English translations).
Every time we start a new year, we say that there are 365 new opportunities to do good things, to carry out kindness and to show mercy to others. But sometimes, when the year ends, instead of being excited about the future, we’re fearful. We examine the past days and can be engulfed by failures and fatigue. We may feel overwhelmed by disappointment. Instead of seizing new opportunities, we become immobilized by fear.
What is “justice?” As we set out over the next several weeks to explore what the Bible teaches about “justice,” we first need to back up and make sure we know what we are striving towards. As we begin to ponder what the Bible teaches about this rather nebulous idea, we must first make sure we have the right concept of what the Bible actually is.
Young people feel compelled to create an identity for themselves that’s false. John Tyson, pastor of a church in New York, talks about this. He calls it keeping up the image and discusses how difficult it can be. Our kids and youth are exhausting themselves, trying to keep up appearances, trying to keep multiple conversations going on multiple social media channels.
This Thanksgiving, no matter what part of the world you live in and whether or not you have pilgrims in your history and tradition, take some time to pause and consider God. Think about who He is, about His faithfulness, His love, His goodness. Put your attention on Him and His promises.