''Justice only fails when we fail to imagine that it is possible. But like so many things, it depends not only on imaginings but on what we do.'' - James Orbinski
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Putting things back into context
''Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.''
I remember highlighting this verse in my old, worn-out Bible in High School, and quoting it in letters, cards to friends, and copying down in my notebooks as a self-reminder. But I don't recall if I ever read the verses before and after this passage that I like so much; I don't think I ever read this verse in its proper context.
Then, about a week ago, a friend of mine who was having an amazing, life-altering experience at Downtown Eastside gave me a list of ''Justice texts'' to read. And having kind of strayed away from regular devotions, I thought this would be a motivating, refreshing way to start again. So I went through the list, and I couldn't stop re-reading Isaiah 58:6-12--for its teaching, its richness, and the truth that I needed to reflect on. What kind of 'fast' or 'sacrifice' is pleasing to our God? What makes our 'light break forth like the dawn'?
I believe that everyone have different calling, but one of things we are all called to do is to see justice prevail, and in our society today, injustice still looms over the lives of those who are trapped in poverty, addictions or mental illness.
There are so many practical steps, but I think the first and foremost is to 'start caring'. To conduct research on the living conditions of these people, to dig deeper into social injustice. Then, I doubt that you won't be moved to do something after your discovery.
''Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, 'Here I am.' If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness. if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.'' ---ISAIAH 58:6-12
It's nice to be able to put things back in the context, where they belong!