Posted by: Melissa Bane Sevier | October 12, 2019

Delay, delay, delay

I’ve heard sermons that poke fun at the woman in this parable of Jesus, because the preacher thinks she’s annoying. That joking a symptom of privilege.

He said, ‘In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, “Grant me justice against my opponent.” For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, “Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.” ’ And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?’ [from Luke 18]

We know little about her except that she is a woman and a widow, and therefore almost certainly poor. Desperately poor. What is the justice she seeks? We’re not told, but we can assume it’s a legitimate issue. It’s reasonable to guess that she and her family may depend financially on a just outcome of this case. And while God sees her and is ready to make things right, the justice system on which she relies fails her time after time after time.

How many people do we know, read about, or see in the news who have experienced nothing but delay in justice?

How many refugees from warring and desperate places are seeking asylum? How many people are finally able to come forward with their stories of sexual abuse, assault, or rape only to be turned away by the courts and ridiculed by the public? How many non-white citizens are still seeking equality in education, economic opportunity, and a place in society? How many poor and low income Americans are looking for a just path to a living wage and decent health care? How many LGBTQ persons long only to be granted the same rights their fellow citizens enjoy – in housing, employment, and public accommodations?

What can be done? While God is ready to grant justice, the systems we are stuck with are infinitely fallible.

So we gather in solidarity with each other. We line courtrooms and city council chambers. We march and protest. We listen to the stories of our fellow human beings who cry out for justice like the poor widow of Jesus’s parable.

And we work.

We work for the equality of all humanity. We work for the safety and security of every person. We work for justice – for ourselves and for others, especially for the poor and disenfranchised.

The wait is long. Waiting is never easy. But even as justice is delayed, we will refuse to believe that justice will be forever denied.

Because that is not God’s version of justice.

© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2019

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