Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The Riots and the unjust judge

Today’s blog post is based on the prayers and reflection written for the latest meeting of the Joint Public Issues Team.

Luke 18: 1-8

1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
New International version

Today the Riots Communities and Victims Panel issued their final report on the causes of the riots. One of their conclusions was that those who were in similar situations of disadvantage to those who took part in riots, but chose not to riot, did so because they felt that they had a stake in society. The panel said that those who took part in the riots did so because they felt they had no reason not to. They had been deprived of hope and opportunity.

Society has done them a grave injustice by giving them no roots and offering them no future. The unjust judge in the bible passage grants the widow justice because he doesn’t want her to attack him. Is society even worse than the unjust judge? We didn’t even grant justice to these people because they would eventually come and attack us. Will we grant them justice simply so they don’t attack us again? Or will we grant justice because it is the right thing to do?

A prayer from the Church Urban Fund
Dear Lord,

Help us to follow your example,
by looking out for those who each day feel that they are marginalised,
who cannot find hope,
who believe that they have little to offer,
who are overcome by the challenges of poverty.
Help us to widen our horizons,
to make space for the stranger,
to watch out for those who feel invisible,
to give time to the outsider,
to talk to the person facing silence,
to restore justice and value.

Give us the courage to undertake this, the determination to join with others in seeing grace in every human face,
and the faith to embrace the opportunity in your name. Amen.