Want to Be Great? Raise a Ruckus

justice mural
Image credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/redredbuttons/2120649684/">Alex E. Proimos</a>

Isaiah 61:10-62:3

I’ll rejoice, by God!
My heart thrills because of God!
Because God has clothed me
With a winner’s sash,
Wrapped me in the robes of justice.
I’m like the groom putting on his corsage,
Or a bride donning her tiara.

As shoots grow up out of the earth,
And as a garden grows from planted seeds,
God will grow justice and acclaim
out of people everywhere.

For Zion’s sake I won’t shut up,
And for Jerusalem’s sake, I won’t sit still
Until justice shines from her like the sunrise
And until her reputation becomes a beacon.

People everywhere will see your justice,
Leaders will see your triumph,
And you will be renamed
With a name chosen by God.
You’ll be a God’s magnificent scepter,
God’s crowning achievement.

Let’s name this passage for what it is: an ode to the triumphant restoration of a nation that has seen better days.

And yet, for all it’s nationalistic narrowness and gloating, there are at least three hugely important and positive take-aways here:

  1. The central character of the nation to be re-established is justice. Here is a key understanding of politics worth underscoring, that a nation can never be truly great unless it is just.
  2. Justice is not peculiar to certain people in certain places. It’s as natural to have a sense of and to long for justice as it is for seeds to grow when planted in soil. What little kid doesn’t have a sense that something is fair or fair?
  3. A nation that aspires to be great needs citizens who won’t shut up and won’t sit still until justice shines. It’s not enough to lament that injustice is carrying the day. People, if they long to be a part of a great nation, need to speak up and make a ruckus.

Nations come and go. But the power to dominate and influence splotches on a world map by force only gets you so far. To have real clout, to have a reputation like a beacon, you need to get in touch with your inner kid, whose still wanting to get up and yell, “It’s not fair!”