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Road to Advent: A Messiah of Justice and Righteousness

Hi church! Yesterday I invited you to (literally) crumble up your expectations on who or how Jesus would be for you this year and let Him come to you freely. The next stumbling block that I believe people get caught up in is the expectations around justice and righteousness. In general, those with a more liberal philosophy take pride in the "justice" aspect of the Bible whereas those with a more conservative philosophy take pride in the righteousness aspects. However, if we were to go back to the greek interpretation you would see that the word for justice and righteousness is the exact same thing! A fun excercise to do in scripture is to go back to some examples of righteousness and justice in the Bible and exchange it for the other word to see how that reading changes for you. I find this practice helpful when we are trying to be more "moderate" by helping to break up the assumptions of what the word justice and what the word righteousness actually means in the Bible.

Let's start with the most common understanding of these two words and see whether or not you agree with them.

Justice: Equality, fairness, punishment for the oppressor and liberation for the oppressed.

Righteousness: Good morals, strong personal character, blameless, law abiding, etc.

But these two words are interchangeable. The long called for Messiah is both Just and Righteous.

This past weekend the broadly covered case of Kyle Rittenhouse was displayed for all us to watch with eager eyes and minds. Some of us damned him and some of us acquitted him before the trial even began. The verdict came down as many would expect it to: Not guilty on all charges. Those on the left find themselves in anguish and wonder if the same legal grace would have been applied to a person of color who openly carried a firearm and killed 2 people while those on the right find victory in this case for gun rights and self defense laws. Justice and righteousness. At first glance one was victorious and the other was ignored. As Advent approaches and we read about this messiah of justice or this messiah of righteousness we might feel empowered by this case on what to expect from Jesus in response to this.

Kyle Rittenhouse' case was complex and it was another situation where there is real hurt. If you feel hurt by this case I see you and value your hurt. If Advent for you means that the one who will liberate the oppressed and who will come with true justice helps you heal through this case and have hope for the future than I value your stance and hope you can hold on to that moving forward. Christ feels your pain and holds you in these moments. When all other ground is sinking sand we stand on Christ the solid rock. To those that feel victorious this day, I respectfully ask you to not gloat or boast in victory. I do not speak from a personal place either in this matter, I felt no such pain at the verdict, but I do know some wonderful people that did. If Advent for you means that righteousness has won the day and this is a sign of Christ's victory here on earth than you too can hold on to that as we approach Advent.

However, for both camps in this matter, remember that that word is interchangeable. If you cling to justice or righteousness than hopefully you can open your heart to experience the other word this Advent season. I assure you - you will find Christ more fully when your expectations are lowered.

I'm not 100% sure I got across what I have been meaning to say so if I got it wrong or you still feel confused please let me know. I probably just need to verbally process it with someone.


Scripture to Read

Jeremiah 33:14-16

33:14 The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.

33:15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.

33:16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: "The LORD is our righteousness."


Praying the Hymns

All of your ways are peace

All of your ways are peace

Though we are pressed on every side

We trust that you are peace

All of your ways are true

All of your ways are true

Though we've heard so many lies

We trust Your Words are true

All of your ways are just

All of your ways are just

Though we may say it through our tears

We trust that you are just

All of your ways are peace (x4)

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