Monday, April 2, 2012

Creating a World According to Micah 6:8

When I was growing up – I learned a passage from Micah from my grandfather.  The passage has been important to me ever since then.  This passage is the core of my faith. I recite it often.   I used it as the basis of my final Credo Paper for my Master of Divinity degree at Saint Paul School of Theology.  I have preached on it a number of times and it never ceases to bring me great joy and reminds me of who God calls us to be.

The passage says this, 
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
   and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
   and to walk humbly with your God? (NRSV)

There is no small reason why this passage is vital to my faith – it is about justice, love and faithfulness.  Justice is part of me.  I breathe justice.  I work for it.  I pray for it.  I march for it.  I write my political leaders calling for it.  I teach it to my son.  I preach it in my sermons.  I teach it in my classes.  I try to live a just life in all I do.

But justice is sometimes hard to define in our society.  Some want justice only as they see it.  Some want justice for only a select group.  Some see a rush to justice without cause or evidence.  Others see justice denied by inaction.  There are multiple issues related to justice.  And it is hard to make folks see eye to eye on the issues.

But justice is justice for me – it is pretty clear.  Martin Luther King, Jr. said once, “Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere.”  I believe that.  We have to advocate for justice for all.  Regardless of who they are – their race, attire, gender, faith tradition, sexual orientation, age, size, creed, denomination, physical disabilities, or other element of their being.

I want to be clear – we may disagree on how justice is expressed – but justice must come.  For me it means justice for Trayvon Martin, for Shaima Alawadi, for thousands of named and unnamed persons killed every year by guns, for gays and lesbians struggling with inequality, and for persons kept in poverty by a system that makes it almost impossible to rise out of its depths.  It means advocating for an end of systemic racism, for an end to bullying for any reason, for an end of sexist practices in the church and workplace, and for so many more situations.

It is unjust that I can wear a hoodie anywhere and no one sees me as suspicious.  But it is even more unjust that a person of color is seen that way regardless of what they are wearing.

It is unjust that so many are denied rights afforded others because of their gender or orientation.  It is unjust that people are beaten or killed because of their faith.  It is unjust that many are treated differently because of their physical disabilities or abilities.

So we may disagree on how and when justice is present.  But let’s all agree to this -- to work toward a more just world … a world where no one is mistreated or hurt because they are different from us.

That is justice.

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