May 5

Beloved People,

When fires burn in city streets accompanied by loud cries and voices concurrently rise on the steps of the Supreme Court of the United States, all of these actions converge in a common demand for what we call Justice. And sadly, the talking heads who comment and report on these conditions often fail to include in their commentary and reports that the basis of actions such as these are born out of a society that is unjust – that is, what we human beings often think of as fair and equal treatment. But, is justice always fair? Who knows for sure? It certainly doesn’t feel fair all the time. Justice, often framed as an abstraction, is after all fundamentally misunderstood. In any case, what I am convinced of is what scholar Cornel West has stated, “Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.”

In our culture, a lot of us mistake justice as retribution or revenge. That is, to seek justice has come to mean taking someone to court and “getting even” for what that person took or damaged. Consequently, Justice is considered in a completely different category from Love when in fact Love and Justice are just different incarnations of one another. At its core, Justice is about doing what’s right as when we intercede for the persecuted, the oppressed, and the exploited.

The public face of this shows itself beyond a basic human compassion of pulling people out of a river who tend to fall in, but ultimately going upstream to find out why people keep falling in. That’s justice.   In doing this, we are viewing one another the way that God sees us. And because God is Love, it follows that the root of true Justice is Love, free and unconditional.

And although Justice looks very different for each respective group who is calling for such regarding their individual plights, it is only by protecting the rights of all can we protect the rights of any. Any society where any one group can be dehumanized is one where it is easy then to deny justice simply because those who do the dehumanizing feel no sense of human connectedness.

Going one step farther, anyone who claims to care about “society,” or “humanity,” but sees only a vague, nameless, faceless mass – whose names they do not know, and whose faces they refuse to see – is a fraud because they do not care about those individuals God has placed right there in our midst. Be that as it may, we who are believers accept that in Christ, in God, there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, gay nor straight, black nor white.


Confident then that we are all in God, I dare to say when we speak of Justice it looks like what Jesus taught us as he spoke through the Beatitudes both in spirit and in action. It looks like restoring dignity where it’s been lost; it looks like humility and gentleness and a radical dependence on God; it looks like caring when no one else cares; it looks like mourning and grieving for ourselves, others, the world; it looks like advocating with a willingness to be persecuted for love; it looks like diffusing our power and resources on behalf of others; it looks like practicing equality across gender, race, socioeconomic, and host of other things that keep people over or under others; it looks like Love.

Finally, as we pray through the fires burning in city streets accompanied by loud cries resulting from decades of blight, neglect and disrespect or the voices raised on the steps of the Supreme Court of the United States awaiting a decision of all things equal in marriage, rest in these words:

  “31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who

can be against us…35 who shall separate us from the love of God? Shall trouble

or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?36 As it

is written: 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through God

who loves us.” (Romans 8)


Yours in fellowship….Reverend Gale Jones, Pastor

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