Seeking peace. Striving for justice. Together.
Probably like most peacemakers, I love this passage from Isaiah. How many times have we been at a General Assembly or another solemn meeting and simply “couldn’t endure” it? For those interested in working for justice and peace, these commands are our baseline for living: “seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” Many of us prefer this kind of “active” justice making to enduring “solemn assemblies” and “appointed festivals” anyway.
Isaiah calls out for us to understand something deeper. In Hebrew, the word for “worship” can also be translated as “work.” There is no either/or choice—fellowship, worship, and the realization of God’s realm are inextricably linked. God does not want us to stop our meetings, but wants them to become the locus of work for justice—otherwise they will become futile, abominations, inequitable, and burdensome.
Just like we joke that the problem with Christianity is Christians, God too is weary of us when we argue about who is acceptable based on a person’s race, income, gender, sexual orientation, or politics. Not just in service projects or petition drives, but also in every choice we make about our worship services and meetings, God calls us to seek justice.
Good Teacher, show us what it is to seek justice. Bind our worship of you to a deep awareness of what is just so that every decision we make might reflect your new reality.