“Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them,

and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

But it shall not be so among you:

but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto,

but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28, KJV)

The word the Athenians used for their Assembly was Ekklesia, the same word used in the New Testament for Church
(and it is the greatest philological irony in all of Western history that this word,
which connoted equal participation in all deliberation by all members,
came to designate a kind of self-perpetuating, self-protective Spartan gerousia -
which would have seemed patent nonsense to Greek-speaking Christians of New Testament times,
who believed themselves to be equal members of their Assembly.)

- Thomas Cahill, Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Seeking Justice IS Loving God

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
- Edmund Burke, 18th Century Anglo-Irish statesman

We received, in an anonymous comment regarding our recent blogs, an admonition to “Let God deal with M. Isaiah and Fr. Katinas.” Essentially we were told not to seek justice. We submit this is antithetical to what the Lord asks of us. Through Scripture God tells us to seek justice through love, wisdom, faith and action.

Jesus instructed us:

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave
me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes
and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you
came to visit me” (Matthew 25:35).
Christ continued, saying that whenever we aid the “least of these,” we aid Him. Clearly then, suffering occurs in this world to get our attention, to urge us toward action in aiding others, and thus to show God's love and power. When we seek justice, compassion, fairness, we become examples of His Love. We manifest His victory over evil, wickedness and apathy.

Nowhere in scripture does God say “stand by, do nothing, I’ll handle everything!” Instead, the opposite is true:
“…do away with the yoke of oppression…and satisfy the needs of the oppressed…”
(Isaiah 58:9, 10) “No one calls for justice…justice is driven back and
righteousness stands at a distance...” (Isaiah 59:4,14) The Prophet Isaiah
describes the Lord’s reaction when His people fail to fight injustice: “The LORD
looked and was displeased that there was no justice. ... He was appalled that
there was no one to intervene…” (Isaiah 59:15,16)

God calls us to stand fast and unafraid. “Administer justice every morning; rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed…” (Jeremiah 21:12). Further we should not despair that we can do little, cynically allowing injustice to prevail further. “No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.” (Edmund Burke) Seeking justice is therefore the substance of obedience to the Lord. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (2 James: 26)

Whether the issue is local, regional or national, there are those who say “let us simply 'obey'. We must say nothing, do nothing, tithe as usual, refrain from demanding redress for the wronged, back away from insisting on an accounting from our lay leaders, our clergy, our hierarchs; God will sort it out and judge the wrongdoers.” This seeming “obedience” is illogical and contrary to what the Lord expects of us. (When ongoing child abuse by a cleric is the issue, it is an unconscionable acquiescence to evil.) By not seeking justice here in this life, we turn from God not toward Him. We show that we lack vision, wisdom and most of all compassion. We retreat from our God-given ability to reflect the triumph of Our Risen Lord.

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