Well, I am finally back in Canada...typing from an airport lounge in Vancouver and will be home in Calgary by 7:30 pm local time. What a trek! Coming through customs, looking a bit discheveled and smelling a bit like Hungarian salami the guy points me through the infamous door...and in I went and had a lady wearing latex gloves tell me she was going to have to incinerate the salami I had put up with in my backpack for five days...augh! Two huge salamis...toast. Sorry dad, one was for you. Real Hungarian salami that's not allowed into Canada unless it is carbon dated as 10 000 years old.
I've read a lot of scripture these last eight days, primarily the prophets - go figure. I started in Budapest with Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, and Zechariah. Then into Germany I read all of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamantations, parts of Ezekiel, Daniel three times and Zechariah again.
Since hearing Vancouver native Joyce Heron share her heart at the gathering in Dresden, I've been reading and praying a lot about justice and righteousness...which I don't think are the same thing. It's like they are two edges of the same sword. Or, as Isaiah puts it, one is the measuring line of the temple and the other is the plumb line. Same stone, two different, yet straight, directions.
I am wondering if righteousness has to do with the word of God and justice has to do with the action of that word. Powerfully kinetic breathed out words that have incredible ramifications, living AND active. Creation ex nihilo....telling the nothing to become. Or, Creation en nihilo....birthing life within the nothing.
As Micah puts it, He has showed us what is good and what he requires...that's righteousness. To do justly!? That is the outworking of righteousness. The lines can blur when we get terms like "righteous deeds" - but that phrase contracts the whole of the double movement into two words.
I guess what I'm getting at is that we speak a lot about justice at the expense of righteousness. We have the desire to do what is good, but are not sure how to carry it out. Maybe we have the cart before the horse, so to speak. Canadians are supposedly the worlds experts in social justice, so we like to be perceived.
The Church in Canada seems to be doing justice well...Yet, I am worried about all the justice language lately...It's become trendy. Everybody is an activist for something, and rightly so. But, we may be embracing an ideal of justice at the expense of true righteousness. HE is our righteousness. He is our Word from God. He deisres to fully conform our minds before we can ever grasp and enter into his activity of justice... all those good things he has prepared in advance for us to do.
He was eye ball to eye ball with rejects, sinners, widows, orphans, aliens and strangers. He loved each one fully. He didn't objectify a single person in his noble quest for social justice. Not one person got in some long line for food or rehab. He made his disciples go out to them and serve them - on the other side of the soup kitchen counter. If Jesus had a bunch of poor people in his home, he would have them in the kitchen preparing the meal with him, dignifying them (thanks Joyce).
He showed them the way into righteousness...and that is where all human dignity lies...in the imago dei - the righteousness of God ultimately revealed to us in the person of Jesus Christ who is still embodied and available to us, sitting with his Father and our Father, his God and our God.
The righteous nation will always seek justice while she may be found.