This evening my world was thrown a curve ball. The title of this post should give those of you who know me some insight as to what the curve ball was, but allow me to unpack it more. As I sat in worship this evening the following statement came forth from the pastor, “There is no justice in Christianity as we move from justice to grace and grace to love.” You can imagine my little brain exploding as I heard one of the most justice seeking and justice living people I know say these words. The pastor continued, “If there were justice in Christianity than Christ would not have hung on a cross, nor would God’s grace be showered upon us.”
My brain went into this role of trying to argue with what she was saying, finding all the ways in which what she was saying wasn’t biblical or true, because so much of life and understanding of Christ is rooted in bring forth justice and understanding justice. My brain scanned through the plethora of conversations I have had with friends, colleagues, mentors about how to bring forth earnest justice in a world drowning with injustice.
As I continued to listen to this woman I respect a great deal she proceeded to say Christians are called to love and one of the greatest tools we have to live out that love is forgiveness. When I thought through what she was saying, about how justice is not what Christians are called to, I began to see what she was articulating.
You see, love is far more difficult than justice (not punitive justice but Tzedakah, redemptive justice as seen in the Old Testament and with Christ). As much as this makes my head spin and stomach turn I think I might find myself agreeing, in the slightest, with the pastor tonight, that Christians are called to something higher than justice, Christians are called to love. A love that surpasses one’s desire or want to love another and is a love that comes from a reckless abandon that knows forgiveness, mercy, and grace. It is the love Christ calls us to.
Yet, as I write this my head and heart still finds ways to say “well sure, we are called to love and true justice is rooted in love, so basically the pastor tonight and I are saying the same thing,” but there is tension for me there. Thankfully I do not have to figure this out tonight. As much as I would like to dismiss this pondering by believing the pastor tonight and I are saying the same thing I think I would be missing out on moving further towards a greater understanding of what Christ calls his follows to.
Awe the great pondering that accompanies this Sunday night.