Let justice roll down like water….
Peace and comfort, that’s much of what attracts us to, and keeps us in, the Christian faith. We turn to God in times of need, find God mighty to save, and are encouraged to acknowledge that God is guiding and directing us. The burdens we have been carrying and the pressures we feel are suddenly relieved. We are not alone. There is a loving presence which has brought us into the world, which sustains us, and which will, we are led to trust, love us for all eternity. As one member of this parish has said to me on numerous occasions, “There is a peace at St. John’s that I have never found anywhere else.”
That peace of Christ allows us to go through various difficulties, enables us to be hopeful and joyous, and connects us with that true wisdom which comes from God alone. As we steep ourselves in that relationship, all that we do has more meaning. We are able to discern a guiding hand that leads us into a better way of living. We come to know that God is making good everything that happens. Even the evil that happens is turned around, or will be one day we are assured. We can trust God to fulfill his purpose. We are given strength to live into our own purpose and do what we are called to do.
That’s the other part of the Christian faith, the part having to do with our actions, living into our purpose. God welcomes us, renews us, begins to reveal his will for us, and then asks us to align our wills with the divine will. As we are comforted and given peace, we are inspired to take on activity which we believe is God’s work in the world. The work we take on can’t compare with the work God is doing, perhaps, but we do come to realize that certain work is left for us in particular. God works to save and renew us; God then rouses our desire to make this world better.
Justice is a primary Advent theme. Our attention in worship is brought to the coming of Christ at the end of time, as we are reminded that Christ came into our world long ago. When he comes again, we pray, may he find us doing his work and fulfilling his purpose. As we find comfort and come to see that God’s ways are so much greater than ours, we also come to see that our ways must change.
You and I are called to pursue justice in all aspects of living. The prophet Amos, during a peaceful and comfortable time in the life Israel, proclaimed: “let justice roll down like water, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5.23). The people had grown too peaceful and comfortable and had come to ignore the needs of others. They felt entitled to comfort and that others should solve their own problems.
The peace of Christ is constantly offered to us. Yet the peace of Christ yearns for us to help bring peace to others. The Christian faith is personal and private in so many ways. God comes to us intimately and is our balm. In other ways, the gospel Christ brings is public, downright political. When there are people living in the world in need, who else but the faithful should reach out?
Advent encourages us to be fed with the hope of the consummation of history in the coming of Christ Jesus. Advent requires of us great action. There are things in this world which simply are not right. As people touched by Christ, we have a great responsibility to correct what is wrong.
Be renewed spiritually. Grow in peace and comfort. But be renewed in righteousness as well. Make this world more what God would have it be. Do something today, big or small, that will correct an injustice.
Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr.
Vestry Elections will be held at the Annual Meeting on January 27. Nominees are: Betty Beale, Tracey Campbell, John Carter, Rosa Davis, Will Gunter, Brice Johnston, Katie Keller, Keith Miller, Scott Mitchell, Mary Nelms Parsons, Nick Prillaman, Radney Ramsey, Emily Wise. Early in January a brochure will be sent to you to further identify these nominees. If you are unable to attend the Annual Meeting you may cast your ballot ahead of time.