YEARNING FOR JUSTICE
Luke 18: 1-8 Leighmoor UC
Jeremiah 31: 27-34 20 Oct 2019
There is a deep yearning within each one of us.
Not just the yearning to love and be loved,
But I think it is connected to it.
It is the yearning deep within us for our home and our family.
Some of us have begun to doubt whether we actually have a home,
a family, a Father who loves us.
The People of Israel were stuck in a foreign land, in Babylon,
servants of the people there.
Their home, Jerusalem had been destroyed, and their identity as the People of God smashed even as the Temple had been smashed.
But through the prophet, they were reminded again and again,
Don’t let go of that yearning
– you do have a home, you are part of my family, says God.
Even though they were there for generations, for 70 years,
the yearning kept reminding them of who they were
and whose they were.
Even more, God says through the prophet,
I am doing a new thing, making a new covenant.
There won’t just be stone tablets of the Law in the Temple,
for you to obey;
I will write this new covenant on your hearts
You will understand what is right and wrong
More than that, I will be in a close relationship with you,
So wherever you are, I will be there with you.
The Temple might have been destroyed, but they learned God was with them in their gatherings to worship wherever they were;
in their homes as they kept Shabat;
in their hearts as they lived what was right .
The widow in Jesus’ parable yearned for justice.
She had been wronged, and she knew it was wrong.
She had no man to stand up for her publicly, so she did it herself.
Jesus said, if that unjust judge eventually heard her pleading
and her yearning, how much more will God listen to our yearning.
It is a yearning for home, for a place where people are loved
and treated with fairness and more.
We talked a few weeks ago about children and justice.
How often have you heard a child saying It’s not fair!
It is often a very simple understanding, like whether someone else has more lollies than me,
but the idea of fairness and justice is deep within us all.
But what do you do when the world clearly is not fair, not just?
Hitting and screaming may not be the best solution, but we often see adults or even countries trying this.
Others just give up, but Jeremiah and Jesus are encouraging us never to give up,
to keep yearning for justice,
to always persist in prayer.
There is a reason why we should never give up yearning for justice. It is because God is yearning for a just world,
a world where people treat each other with justice and compassion,
a world where God’s love rules.
Our God is a God who never gives up
– never gives up on his world; never gives up on us.
The reason we need to keep yearning for justice,
to persist in prayer,
is that it gives God a chance to change us,
so that we can become part of the answer to our own prayers.
Never give up yearning for justice, that yearning comes from God.
Especially when the vulnerable are being picked on, we join God
in calling for them to be treated as valuable children of God.
Sometimes we wonder if God is even hearing our prayers
Remembering praying for the end of Apartheid
– would it ever come?
East Timor …
Later this month I will have been ordained for 50 years.
Back in 1969 I was yearning for people
to find a living and vibrant faith in Australia.
Since then church attendances have dropped markedly
Christian faith is not the assumed position of this nation,
It is clearly secularism now.
Should I give up? It hasn’t really worked…
I can’t get away from that yearning …
I could be at home in bed, or at a friend’s Pink Ribbon breakfast;
But I choose to come here;
because I yearn for you to find a close and stronger
relationship with the living God.
I yearn for this congregation to discover its mission and to thrive.
Don’t give up on that yearning God gives you.
Never give up praying,
for praying brings us into a deeper relationship with God,
and through that we are changed,
so that we become channels of his peace.