Let justice roll down like waters – 18th Sunday after Trinity
Jesus tells the story of the so-called unjust judge – a story unique to the Gospel of Luke. From the language that he uses it is clear that Luke is not relating a parable about a particular judge, but a stock character, an archetype. The casting of a widow in the story heightens the listener’s sense of the judge’s wickedness. In Israel of the time, as in any patriarchal, agricultural economy the most vulnerable type of people were invariably orphans, strangers and widows, without land to their name – at the mercy of the powerful.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said: “What is the gospel if not a gospel of justice” We might re-phrase that and also ask ‘What is our church, if not a church of justice’. We might further ask ourselves, can that truly be said of me and my church?
Lent is a pilgrimage, a journey into, perhaps, previously uncharted territory and not always the most comfortable of places. But in all the talk of repentance during Lent, we should also remember that the word in its Greek and Hebrew roots means much more than simply feeling sorry.
It was G.K Chesterton who wrote: The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult, and left untried.
The prophets tell us that it is the duty of the people of God to care about and be advocates for those who are poor and powerless – and Jesus’ first concern was for those who were the most vulnerable and had no voice.
We like to form a pattern of the world, a mental map of how things work, why they happen, an explanation of the way the world works, and why. We tend to seek explanations for new things according to the old ways.
Generally, it can serve us well.
It makes our world feel more constant, more predictable, less random and unstable – it also cuts down on mental processing time – we can assume certain constants, and concentrate on what is changing before our eyes.