Monday, 15 August 2016

Disruption to find Justice

In a Gospel of love the reading from Luke's Gospel has an enormous disruptive feel to it as Christ tells us he does not come to bring peace but disharmony (Lk. 12.49-).  A disruption that will tear apart relationships within families and communities which is not what we expect from this God of love and peace and harmony.

Yet when we engage with the lament from God over his vineyard in Isaiah (5.1-7) we should begin to see where this disruption occurs in our lives if we are truly living the Christian way. All God is seeking is justice but finds instead bloodshed (Isaiah 5.7). A concept that is so elusive for the human that the judiciary and philosophers struggle to pin it down as it escapes in the blink of an eye.  It comes as a disruptive moment in our lives as we seek to do justice.  The historical list of those are pillars of faith and have journeyed with this concept are outlined in the letter to the Hebrews and finalised  by basically saying the list goes on forever (Heb 11.32).  If we consider our own heroes of the faith or standouts within the faith journey of the modern era we can think of Bishop Trevor Huddlestone, The Arch (Desmond Tutu), Sister Theresa and Michael Lapsley all who have struggled with this elusive concept as they have journeyed in faith.

Only when we start to understand their passion for a loving God and the elusive pursuit of justice in this word can we begin to understand the disruption that this should cause for ourselves.  Yet, we ponder and struggle to overcome our own pet hurts that blind us to the greater call on our lives. We confine ourselves to the irritation of a misleading line in a hymn rather than the actuality of injustice in Palestine.  We concentrate on the tangible of a border forbidding the undesirables from coming and restricting their access while neglecting our responsibilities and the injustices occurring in our name on Nauru and in detention camps.  It is the tangibility of a border or a hymn that calls us rather than the intangible concept of justice calling from the borders of our sovereignty.  Only when we can overcome our own wants and wishes so as to focus on the greater will we begin to work the will of God's call on us.

Justice calls and disrupts our lives.

The claim on us as we make our way on the journey of faith is not in the past but in the present.  In seeking justice we will disrupt our families and our communities as we stir up the complacency of governments and communities.  The Anglican and faith community live by what is known as Lex orandi, lex credendi, or what we say is what we believe.  If this is the case than it is the call for justice that must be lived out by our daily lives.  This is a greater call than a single focus on Jew, Muslim or Sexuality.  Our call is to live acknowledging all as children of God and ignoring the difference that they bring into our lives.  Justice calls to all of us, irrespective of creed, culture or sexuality.  If inspires us to live lives of acceptance that do not dwell on images of the past but build images of the future with hope.  Justice continually calls from the margins of our society not from those living in affluence.  The pursuit of justice calls us into the fray of the dispossessed, the camps and those struggling to survive.  It does not call us to close our hearts and our borders; it does not call us to close our eyes or think only of the past.

If we are to live as faith filled Christians, however small we deem ourselves, we will be at the forefront of disruption as we open the hearts of those closed by comfort and complacency.  Mother Theresa was not a showman or a tele evangelist but a person of large faith and heart who saw injustice and worked towards justice.  For all his flamboyance Archbishop Tutu worked at the coalface of injustice to bring the injustices of apartheid into the light of God's love, not for fame but to honour the call and pursuit of justice that God calls all of faith to. In our comfort and our own lives lived within a society that is consumed by pettiness we are called into the disruptive tear that those who suffer from injustice create as justice calls.  We have seen the blood that flows as a result of injustice in the lives of the abused, are we ready to answer with the salve of love and respond to the call of justice in the world.

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