Justice, like mountains
Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light, nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;
Thy justice like mountains, high soaring above thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love. From verse 2 of Immortal, invisible, God only wise, Hymnal 1982
For nearly two weeks, protests – peaceful and riotous – have been happening in cities all over the United States. The catalyst for these protests was the murder of George Floyd on May 25 by a Minneapolis police officer who knelt on his neck for close to nine minutes, while three other officers actively kept anyone else from helping the stricken man on the ground. George Floyd’s completely unjustifiable killing is, unfortunately, tragically, only one among many acts by police or other groups to cause the death, by murder, of thousands upon thousands of black Americans since the end of slavery … not counting, of course, the 250-year period of slavery on this continent. Black folks, and any who would stand with them, are exhausted by the continued depravity directed at black and brown people simply because of the color of their skin. As someone who worked in law enforcement, with at-risk young men, mostly black, for more than five years, all of this is rather challenging and difficult. What do we do? How do we respond? “How long, O Lord?!” screamed the Psalmist, along with a people who seek justice and an equal part of the abundant life that Jesus said He came to offer; a life of joy, love, safety, equality, and hope.
I was looking at the second verse of the wonderful old hymn, “Immortal, invisible” from our Hymnal, serendipitously selected by our Director of Music for Trinity Sunday. The hymn sings that our God is “unresting” and “unhasting,” the One who wastes no time in gathering justice like mountains for His people. And yet the cry of “How long?!” continues to reverberate against the hymn’s promise with doubts that our God will act or, maybe, has the capacity to act. We must remember, however, that God’s justice is often proclaimed by prophets that God gives to us, the ones who speak out against injustice and tell the people an often unwelcome truth: we need change, we must grow, and we must learn how to be the people God in Christ calls us to be; all of us. Trinity Sunday reminds us of the true nature of our calling: to be more like the community of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to work in harmony, in love, all part of the same Body yet each having a part to play. God’s justice can only be seen through the lens of His gracious love and Christ’s unyielding humility. We cannot answer God’s call until we, in great humility and love, listen to God’s voice in our own life in regards to all things but, for this time, how we can move our own hearts and minds to love more completely all of God’s children, no matter their skin color, political affiliation, or language. “Thy justice like mountains, high soaring above thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.” God shows us the way. We only need the courage to follow.