A Eucharist Journey: Day 6 of 8

AdobeStock_155385352.jpeg

Justice

-Joshua M. Casey

Blinded by rage and loss, exasperated by his friends’ answers, the boil and ash-covered Job shakes his fist to the heavens:

Where are you, God!? Why have You left me!? What have I done!?

 Utterly spent, the bereaved man falls to the ground in a heap of tears, filth, and confusion, the words, “But I am innocent” endlessly trailing from his parched throat, dissipating into the gathering storm.

From these brooding clouds, In a flash of lightning, God explodes:

 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.” [1]

Genocide. Tsunamis. Child soldiers. Earthquakes. Racial violence. Drought. Human trafficking. The atrocities of man are equaled only by the monstrous forces of nature. If our God is Love, then unde hoc malum–whence this evil? Is God unable to save, or simply chooses not to? What have we done to inherit such a travesty, to be marooned upon such a God-forsaken rock? Are we not right, like Job, to shake our bleeding fists at the sky in a righteous fury, crying our innocence? Would it not be just to try God for His crimes against the earth?

And yet my complaint dies in my throat, for I am at once confronted not with God’s failures, but my own. No, perhaps I am not a despotic dictator, but don’t my smallest offenses prove the possibility for the dictator’s existence? In the midst of my cross-examination of God, I throw myself at the mercy of the Judge, for I am the worst of sinners. “Who will save us from this body of death” (Rom. 7:24)?

Eucharist stands as the doorway into transparency with God: where bread from this broken earth becomes the broken body of our Savior; a portal through which we too are “blessed, broken, and given away” (Matt. 26:26). Where our remembrance is that the Cross harmonizes justice and mercy, allowing both to coexist–for the God of Christ created both the darkness and the light. And, “Though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”[2]

 That, “The work of Divine justice always presupposes the work of mercy and is grounded in it”[3]; that, “Justice is the grammar. . . Mercy is the poetry of things.”[4] That our hope is in a God who, out of love, sent His Son to absorb our sense of justice’s demands by extending mercy’s Life.

[1] Job 38:1-3 KJV
[2] Tolkien, J.R.R. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. 2014.
[3] Aquinas, Thomas. "Question 21. The Justice and Mercy of God." Summa Theologiae: The Justice and Mercy of God (Prima Pars, Q. 21). New Advent, n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2017. <http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1021.htm>.
[4] Buechner, Frederick. Beyond Words. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2004.


About The Author

Joshua M. Casey worked as a campus pastor for eight years and is passionate about connecting the church of today to the practices of our past. He lives in Bloomington, IN with his family and writes regularly at joshuamcasey.wordpress.com and can be found on Twitter @thejmcasey and Facebook.com/jmcasey7.