By Reconciling Ministries Network
Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God…A voice cries out: “’In the wilderness prepare the way of God, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of God shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of God has spoken.”
– Isaiah 40
Reflecting today on the juxtaposition of the Supreme Court hearings and the protests in Baltimore, the promises of God’s divine judgment and justice provide refuge and hope. The prophets speak to us from their experiences of exile throughout the ages, inviting us to hear again God’s voice – “the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.”
These words challenge every system of our society ingrained with inequality, dedicated to keeping the marginalized in exile. The powerful and privileged have come to believe they can issue judgments against the humanity of others and call it justice. As queer people argued with courts today for mere recognition of our humanity and relationships, others were marching in the streets of Baltimore to claim the value of black and brown life. It is clear on days like today that our current systems are built to condemn the very people who should be lifted up.
From Stonewall to Baltimore, the exiled have long been calling for a judgment of divine justice. While our worldly courts are stacked in favor of the powerful and privileged, God’s judgment of grace hinted at in the words of the prophets, promises a restructuring of power so that the lowly are lifted and the powerful are removed from their thrones. Present in the here and now, God’s gracious judgment condemns the racist and heterosexist structures of our society and invites us into repentance for our complicity with systems and prejudices that harm rather than heal.
We give thanks for a God who joins us in the streets and in the courts and sends us prophets who challenge the ways we have come to trust the systems of our world at the expense of God’s beloved. We celebrate the faith of all who have persistently demanded divine justice, refusing to settle for judgments that lead to anything less than the flourishing of all life. Their witness has led us thus far.
All of us are in need of perpetual repentance just as we are all in need of refuge and of hope. May we take courage in the certainty that in God’s gracious judgment we are called into freedom and we are always called together.