Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Beneath The Cross Of Jesus"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 5:5-6,11 – God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. (NLT)
I once thought that if an injustice were made public, it would immediately be condemned and fixed. Along with a group of older women, I regularly helped to use songs and spoofs to publicize wrongdoings in government and society. One time, I had an elderly neighbour who was on a small pension and whose bank closed his account because his balance remained persistently under a certain amount. Shortly after, the bigger banks left our poorer areas downtown to relocate to fatter accounts in the suburbs.
Outraged, we wrote letters to the editor. We organized a demonstration, back in the days before the Internet, and advertised it using the local cable channel, flyers on telephone poles, and our telephone network. I wrote a song to the tune of The Man On The Flying Trapeze:
- Oh we are the banks and we do as we please.
We'll charge you a fee if you happen to sneeze.
We don't want to bother with someone if he's
Under the poverty line.
If you keep your bank balance at less than we say,
We'll charge you such fees that you won't want to stay.
Such little accounts will not help us to pay
Our CEO 5 million bucks!
Then we took a bunch of monopoly money and our stuffed dummy down to city hall, wearing false noses to imitate the bankers, tossing our dummy at the crowds as a typical victim. I handed out copies of my song for everyone to sing. They applauded and agreed — but nothing changed. It took years for me to understand that injustice is a fact of life. It is often used as an excuse for not going to church, since churches are usually blamed for not doing anything about injustice in society and even for being part of it themselves.
Sometimes, justice seems hard to come by, with innocent victims of shootings at worship and at school, with false imprisonments, and with war killing peaceable families and destroying their land. But the greatest of all injustices was the death of God's perfect, sinless Son on the cross — He who preached love instead of hate and forgiveness when we suffer at the hands of others. From the cross, "Father, forgive them!" cried the One whose name was righteousness and peace, as a model that we might follow as we trod in His footsteps.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, we are grateful today for the gift of Your sinless Son, given for us as an example of love and truth. Thank You for Your promise that one day, You will bring about perfect justice. Until then, help us to shine Your light in our unjust world by our actions of kindness and mercy, working for peace and always recognizing our need of You. May we each take every opportunity to do justice. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.