Monday, January 25, 2010

Justice and Mercy

For quite some time, I have been taken by Micah 6:8. I imagine quite a few people would cite it as their favorite verse:
He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Justice and Mercy. I could spend hours thinking on the relationship between these two ideals. At once I think that justice is the opposite of mercy. If I am held accountable for my wrongs, how do I see mercy. But if I show mercy, justice is excused.

But then I imagine that if someone has done me wrong, and continues to beat me down, without justice, I will not know mercy.  Justice toward the oppressor may in fact be mercy toward the oppressed.

Only this week, I found these words from Micah echoed in the words of Jesus from Matthew 23:
But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness.
I imagine that justice, mercy, and faithfulness relate to each other in an intricate way and that the context in which Jesus refers to them should shed more light on this relationship.  It is easy to dwell on justice at times, and mercy at others-- especially depending on the circumstances of our lives.  But perhaps standing alone, they cannot be understood at all.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

When the Earth Shakes

The Haitian earthquake tragedy has touched me in a much greater way than many other recent tragedies experienced in our world. My previous post includes a video of our church's participation in Stop Hunger Now, and the representative from the organization who worked with us departed Charlottesville on Sunday afternoon to unload the truck and prepare for his next day trip to Haiti. Apparently he returned the day before the earthquake hit.

I'm sure most of us feel an urge to be there, but when I put more thought to this, I wonder just what I could do. With no visible signs of government, infrastructure stressed to the breaking point, and lack of food and water, how many relief workers can Haiti support. I'm sure there is a need for people, but the people who are needed there now are the one's who have planned and trained and anticipated just such events. But still, despite the fact that I'd probably just drain needed resources and create another body for a overstretched land to sustain, the urge is to just be there.

This is where I find God. If I long to join the people of Haiti in their suffering, people whom I've never met. If I long to give of myself, to relieve others who I do not know. Then how much more does God long to enter into our lives? So much so that he did. Through Jesus, God showed that he is in the suffering with us. I don't pretend to know why, but I trust that a God who cared enough to walk among us and endure a personal suffering despite deity wants to communicate that whatever the tragedy, we are not alone.

In the days ahead, perhaps I will learn how to be of help. For now, I've chosen to join with others and simply promote and enable donations and contributions to the Red Cross for disaster relief on this page through the link to the right.

Emmanuel, God is with us.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Stop Hunger Now!

On January 3, our church participated in the Stop Hunger Now! program. During our morning worship and Sunday School sessions, we packaged and sent over 30,000 meals to fight world hunger. Here is a video of the event: