I don’t have anything red that’s also appropriate to wear in the summer, so I pulled out a very loud “Bob the Tomato” tie that seemed to do the trick.
Yesterday’s discussion around the idea of justice proved as interesting, and illuminating, and inspirational as I had hoped – and more.
Both Rebekah’s preaching (Justice Part 2 – so far as it depends on you – begins around the 23-minute mark) and my class came to essentially the same place, which tells me how firmly rooted we both are in Reformed Theology. As I go through the Christian Doctrine text – written by one of Rebekah’s theology professors – I am constantly impressed at how my exploration of the scriptures over the years dovetails with the framework of scholarship Rebekah first grew up with (in a very traditional Presbyterian preacher’s home), studied in depth during her formal education, and has built on over four decades of practical ministry.
God is a just God. This is not distinct from or in counterpoint to God’s love, it is a way that God’s love expresses itself. The early reformer John Calvin, explained that God’s justice is not a terrible alternative to God’s love – it is God’s love!
“We should not then fear the last judgment and have a horror it? No, since we are not to come before any other Judge than he who is our Advocate, and who has taken our cause in hand to defend us.” – John Calvin – question 87 of the Geneva Catechism
God’s justice always tilts, the Bible teaches, in favor of the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized, the rejected, the outcast, the dispossessed…It is not blind justice, applying itself equally regardless, but justice designed to advocate. In fact, God not only is on the side of those who are poor and oppressed by society, but those who are spiritually impoverished and oppressed by their own sin.
Think about it! God advocates for those we have already condemned and discarded.
Rebekah put it this way in her message (I’m paraphrasing), “We like to dispense justice, making sure those we find guilty ‘get theirs…’ But God doesn’t call us to dish out justice, God calls us to do justice.”
What a beautiful and challenging charge. This week, let’s be the Jesus-followers who answer God’s call to do justice and to love kindness and mercy. And – of course – this is only possible to the extent that we walk humbly with our God.