Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 50; 147:1-11, Isaiah 9:8-17, 2 Peter 2:1-10a, Mark 1:1-8
In the opening of Mark’s gospel, the author quotes the prophet Isaiah: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” The quote continues to say valleys shall be raised and mountains brought low. In this metaphor, the highest and lowest of us all are equal before God and God’s justice. It’s easy to picture a single, clear, straight road leading the Lord right to that place of justice. But note that Isaiah uses the plural “paths.” This may simply indicate turns or changes in direction, but could it be more?
Promoters of social justice often use the term “intersectionality.” In brief, it means that all forms of justice, rather than being separate situations, are connected and intertwined. Issues of poverty are not separate from issues of race, which are not separate from issues of gender, and so on. It is possible to make headway directing our efforts down only one of these paths, but that means we aren’t contributing to progress on the others, which actually holds us back. Even the most privileged person is trapped in systems of injustice, and intersectionality teaches him to see how he is both oppressed by and contributes to them. Intersectionality is not about saying one group’s privilege is bad, but about removing obstacles to that same privilege for everyone else.
And that brings us back to paths, plural. God is beyond time, space, and understanding. His paths to righteousness are infinite, cutting through many wildernesses at once. The Lord’s justice is not completed in a single march, but through a convergence from all directions, all times, all the colors of its spectrum merging into a destination shining with divine understanding. We each have the opportunity to walk with the Lord on many paths, all headed toward that unified light. Let’s make sure we’re not making progress on leveling our own path by throwing our rubble onto someone else’s.
Like love, justice exists in endless supply, but we must let it rush through us like rivers instead of damming it up. Over time, rivers straighten their own paths, and so can we.
Comfort: Your path is as valid as everyone elses.
Challenge: Read about intersectionality.
Prayer: Infinite God, I will seek your justice in all directions. Amen.
Discussion: Have you ever found your well-being tangled with someone who was not like you?
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