This series is a six part journey exploring the themes of the book Embracing Justice – The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2022. Specifically looking at the question, ‘What might a spirituality shaped by biblical portrayals of justice look like for the church of the 21st century?’
In this session Isabelle Hamley interviews Bishop Michael Curry about the subject of Justice.
Michael Curry is an American bishop who is the 27th and current presiding bishop and primate of The Episcopal Church. Elected in 2015, he is the first African American to serve as presiding bishop in The Episcopal Church.
Revelation 21: 1-4
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Luke 4: 18-19
18“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Our faith in Jesus calls us to do what we can to align our society, lives and world with the standards and values of God’s Kingdom as it is written in Revelation 21: 1-4, no weeping, mourning, crying or pain. It is our role as Christian’s to do everything we can to make our world look like this. What we tend to do is to change God to what we want Him to be rather than aligning ourselves with Him.
The Church is made up of humans, who are saints and sinners wrapped up in the same person. Jesus was very clear right from the start of His ministry in Luke 4 who He was and why He was with us and it was for justice.
In the Psalms it talks about how mercy and justice have kissed because they go together. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, but He is also the one who chased the money changers away from the temple. He promotes a justice that does not denigrate into revenge or a mutated form of self-righteousness. We follow Christian principles of loving our enemies, blessing those who curse us – justice and compassion working together. Love should be the drive of our justice.
As humans, when faced with issues that might cause conflict we have been caught up with the idea of fight or flight as an approach to resolution. There is a third and better way; that is a partnership with God, the Holy Spirit and a releasing of love.
The imperfection of human attempts to do justice inevitably points to mercy and forgiveness as an essential part of the process. Full justice is impossible this side of heaven, because even reparations and new ways of social organization can never erase the weight of the past, the ongoing effects of trauma, and new injustices arising. Therefore even when judgement is rendered, when wrongs have been righted as much as can be, something remains, and that something can only be dealt with through forgiveness. Forgiveness in this sense is writing off the possibility of a better past for the sake of a better future. It does not deny justice, it is integral to it, and fundamental in moving towards a better world.
Take some time to give thanks to God for all that He has given to you personally and corporately.
Pray that the spirit of the Lord, of love, compassion and justice will overcome the spirit of division that is prevalent today.