Reformation Lutheran Church A Congregation of the ELCA

Wednesday, March 25
Read Isaiah 28:14-22

Therefore says the Lord God, “See I am laying in Zion a foundation stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation …” (v 16)

LIBERTY AND JUSTICE

Recently I was present and applauded as 179 people from 50 countries around the world became citizens. They committed themselves to this land of opportunity and freedom, assuming civic responsibility. It was a meaningful and moving ceremony! We stood together to pledge allegiance to the United States, “with liberty and justice for all.”

The prophet Isaiah speaks out to the rulers and leaders of Judah, Samaria and Jerusalem. God has entrusted leaders with covenant responsibilities for justice and righteousness for all the people. Isaiah decries the leaders’ irresponsibility, their scoffing at cries for help, their refusal to live up to divine standards, their ignoring of God’s call for compassion for those who are struggling and vulnerable. Did they think that some standards were unrealistic or unfeasible or unprofitable? Did they lie to themselves and delude the people, rationalizing their ways and justifying themselves?

Isaiah is God’s mouthpiece. He says these leaders are building on shifting sand. It’s a dead-end deal and will lead to destruction. Justice for the rich and powerful alone, leaving out the weak and suffering, shutting doors of opportunity and freedom, will ruin everyone. People in positions of authority will be held accountable. God cares.

Our God is a God of compassion, justice and community well-being. Jesus lived the life we are called to follow. God calls us to accept God’s standards and trust divine justice and righteousness as our rock, our sure foundation. Of course, the dilemma is, we tend to redefine those standards to our own personal advantage.

I look back to the days when my daughter Pam was diagnosed with developmental disabilities. Professionals said she should be sent to an institution for life (there were no community programs for her). We disagreed. On the Fourth of July when she was 5 and just beginning to speak words, we put up our American flag and pledged allegiance. Pam repeated some of the words and proclaimed, “With liberty and justice for me!”

Her words echo in my ears. With liberty and justice for Pam and for all. A foundation stone. Lent is a time to recommit to God’s standards, trusting in the grace of God, and sharing that grace with the world around us.

The Rev. Sally C. Fahrenthold Retired


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