Week of Advent 1, Year One
[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]
Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 16, 17 (morning) // 22 (evening)
1 Thessalonians 4:1-12
Many people struggle with the image of God as judge. In some circumstances, though, it might be comforting to know that there is some durable and divine sense of justice in this world. In today’s first reading, God is not only a judge but also a lawyer: “The Lord rises to argue his case; he stands to judge the peoples.”
This system might be a recipe for corruption if we were to model it on earth. In the divine system, God is both the one who argues a case and the one who pronounces judgment! But this description reminds us that God might show up in more than one form. God is both a good lawyer and a fair judge.
Heaven knows we need good lawyers and fair judges. The injustices that Isaiah confronts in today’s passage recur throughout human history. To the victims of injustice Isaiah says, “O my people, your leaders mislead you, and confuse the course of your paths.” To the elders and princes he says, “It is you who have devoured the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses.” These leaders have destroyed the fruit-bearing and life-sustaining land and have scammed and exploited their people.
Today we can pray for good lawyers, for fair judges, and for a sense of the divine that opens our eyes to those who mislead us. When God visits us in the form of a judge, it’s not always bad news.
Lora Walsh blogs about the Daily Office readings at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.