Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 90; 149, Isaiah 4:2-6, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Luke 21:5-19
“He who represents himself has a fool for a client.”
– Abraham Lincoln
“We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ.
– 1 Corinthians 4:10
Jesus warned his disciples about what difficulties to expect in the future. He talked about wars, natural disasters, and persecution. If they were dragged into court, he told them, “This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict.”
How many of us would feel confident entering a courtroom as a defendant with no preparation? Our legal system is a minefield of technicalities few of us can navigate without years of education. We call it our system of justice, but the truth is “justice” can be largely a matter of wealth, influence, and privilege, a system that favors deep pockets and shallow empathy. Where in such a system does faith find a role?
If Jesus and disciples like Paul provide answers to that question, it becomes clear faith is not about victory, at least not in a legal sense; both of them were unjustly condemned. The wisdom Christ promises our opponents can’t “withstand or contradict” may not carry the day in court, but it expresses truths which – over time – are undeniable. In a courtroom, and really in all of life, the purpose of our testimony is not to save our own lives, but to transform the world by introducing – and, as many times as necessary, re-introducing – it to Christ. We don’t have to prepare, because the truth of Christ speaks for itself.
However, if we are living for Christ, we are not really without preparation. We are called to confront the injustices of the world on a daily basis. Seeking solidarity with people who are poor, oppressed, and marginalized teaches us the true meaning of justice. Being a witness for Christ is a lifelong burden, but it is a light and joyful burden because “By your endurance you will gain your souls.”
Comfort: God’s justice is for everyone.
Challenge: With your money or time, support a group that confronts injustice.
Prayer: God of Justice, I trust in you and not the world. Grant me wisdom to be your effective and loving witness. Amen.
Discussion: Is there an injustice you have seen righted in your lifetime?
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