Home > Advent > We Long for Justice

We Long for Justice

Tonight the church will chant:

O Sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: Come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.

The Lord delivered His people from the false lord Pharaoh. Not a true father, this Egyptian lord used laws to oppress and control the people. Instead of fathering the people like a true leader, he enslaved them like most leaders.

The true Lord, the true Father, the truly Just One came. He set His people free. He revealed His law to them and called them to walk in His way. The people did not walk in His way, but turned again and again to other ways that enslaved. Even Moses, the great prophet that spoke the Laws of the Lord failed to keep the whole law and could not enter the Promised Land.

Like the ancient Hebrews, we too walk in ways that enslave. We may rightly cry out and even act for justice in this world, but true justice, true freedom, true Shalom flows from the Just One.

Today, we are watching and waiting for the coming of the One who Just and Righteous and True.

And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
(Isaiah 11:3-5 ESV)

As we watch and wait for the coming of the Just One, let us confess our frustrations, our own tendencies to question God’s goodness, God’s faithfulness, God’s justice. Denise Levertov’s poem, Psalm Fragments, may help us give voice to our own anguished longing:

Psalm Fragment

This clinging to a God
for whom one does
A loyalty
without deeds.


Tyrant God.
Cruel God.
Heartless God.

God who permits
the endless outrage we call

Deaf God.
Blind God.
Idiot God.

(Scapegoat god. Finally
running out of accusations
we deny Your existence.)

I don’t forget
that downhill street
of spilled garbage and beat up cars,
the gray faces
looking up, all color
gone with the sun–

disconsolate. prosaic twilight
at midday. And the fear
of blindness.

It’s harder to recall
the relief when plain
daylight returned

subtly, softly,
without the fuss
of trumpets.
our faces had been upturned
like those of gazers
into a sky of angels
at Birth or Ascension.

Lord, I curl in Thy grey
gossamer hammock
that swings by one
elastic threat to thin
twigs that could, that should
break but don’t.


I do nothing, I give You
nothing. Yet You hold me

minute by minute
from falling.

Lord You provide.

(From The Stream & the Sapphire, Denise Levertov, 21-23)

Categories: Advent
  1. December 18, 2010 at 7:02 am

    Sister Denise saw it and partook of a Sabbath rest in a swing of stardust hanging on the doorpost of heaven. Today is one of those sacred holidays out of eternity and I come to hang out there too. Thanks for showing us the way!

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