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Justice at last

He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. Luke 1. 52


Our focus in church this morning is justice, which is the central theme of Mary's Song, which we refer to as The Magnificat (on account of the opening word in its Latin translation being Magnificat...). Mary stands in the prophetic tradition of the Old Testament, in which oppression by the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor is condemned ;and justice - with restitution - is promised. Yet a problem had arisen because, the longer time went on, the less promising the circumstances were becoming. In response, there set in a growing expectation that God himself would have to intervene... and so was born the messianic hope: that justice would come through a divinely appointed deliverer.


Imagine Mary's excitement on discovering that not only was God coming good on that expectation but that it was to be through herself that the Messiah would arrive. But what faith also - because it is easy for us to look back and applaud Mary's part in it all but, at the time, nothing was "in the bag", it was all still to play for and, as a single, as-yet-unmarried woman Mary was running the risk of being rejected by her fiancé and ostracised by their community. So good for Mary and praise God for his intervention through Jesus!


Even the most cursory glance confirms that justice is a work in progress and like almost every other aspect of God redemption plan, fulfilment will only arrive with Jesus's return. Yet the process is underway and success is guaranteed because that one exception which has been fulfilled is Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, which fulfilled the Old Testament Law, thus breaking the power of sin and defeating Satan and his angels. So we have a choice: to side with oppressors who, consciously or otherwise, continue to exploit others and creation itself; or to follow Jesus in his relentless campaign of liberation and healing, speaking truth to power and hope to despair.

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