Monday, May 4, 2009

What Matters Most- 6- Justice

In this series- "What Matters Most"- I have tried to touch on some of the great commitments that matter. I have also tried to do so with a Christian slant. The last issue in this series, for me, is justice.

Justice is getting what you deserve. Or, to put it another way, justice is equal treatment. That's how we think of it in American society: equal treatment under the law. So, at the Supreme Court building in Washington, DC, is Lady Justice and she is blindfolded. She is meant to dispense justice without regard to what a person looks like- color of skin, disability, gender, wealth, etc. We certainly are not there yet in terms of total justice for all.

Now, one might argue about the things to which a person has a right, but in this country we do argue that.

Christianly, justice is a word that is reserved mainly to talk about justice for the poor. Of all the injustices in the world, scripture seems to say that the worst is how we treat the poor and vulnerable among us. Money seems to be the one dividing line that crosses all races and genders. If you have money, then you can afford to be treated a certain way. If you don't then, you do the best you can.

I know the frustrations with this serving as a pastor. The church is often a place where people look when they are in need. With meagre resources set aside to help those in need, we do the best we can to serve.

The church is called by Jesus to reach out to those "who are least among us". While I get frustrated on the one hand not being able to do as much as I'd like. On the other hand, it's frustrating knowing who is truly needy. There are professionals out there who know just what to do to get to you.

Having said all that, Jesus laid the claim upon us. He even says: "In as much as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me..."

So, if someone is hungry or in need, it's right that they should be able to look to the religious community, to the church for help. We cannot take care of everybody, but we can take care of some and we should. We should do all that we can to help, and feed, and serve those who need most.

Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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