“Woe to those who make unjust laws,
to those who issue oppressive decrees,
to deprive the poor of their rights
and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people”– Isaiah 10:1-2
Having been a teacher, a parent, a public servant, a manager, and someone who interacts with human beings in general, I have heard this phrase uttered countless times in countless ways. I’ll even admit that I may have said it once or twice myself. In every situation, the person who said it felt that his or her case was sound.
Today’s passages show how ancient this plea is--”God, punish the wicked! God, reward the righteous--of which I am certainly one!”
There’s a line from one of my favorite books, The Princess Bride, which says, “Life isn’t fair; anybody who tells you different is selling something.” While this makes me laugh, I would say that Fairness is the poor shadow of Justice. Fairness means giving everyone an equal slice of the pie. Justice acknowledges that some people are hungrier and the right thing is to take care of them. Fairness is strict adherence to the letter. Justice examines context.
Being fair is easy. Being fust is hard. That is probably why the prophet called upon God for justice. It’s also probably why God turns the responsibility back to us.
Darcy Casavant has attended St. Stephens Episcopal Church since 1997, usually attending the 10:30 service (although she manages to get up early for Kadosh Adult Formation). Over the years she has participated in music, acolyte, and lay reader ministries, as well as the Parents of Young Children group.