The sad effects of the IRA hunger strikes and the recent air traffic controllers' action cause one to consider what approach to grievances would help both the protester's cause and the rest of the citizens in society. While the question is a complex one, surely there are some rules, some standards, to which the individual and the society can turn to assure fairness for all involved in a dispute.
If we push beyond a merely cultural reading of the Scriptures, we find a standard of justice and compassion rooted in a spiritual sense of life. It is a standard that acknowledges God as the very Life of man and the foundation upon which social bonds must be built.
Commitment to this standard impelled people like Moses, Deborah, Ruth, Nehemiah, Peter, John, Paul, and, of course, Christ Jesus. In their struggle for justice they found God's support and guidance so much more reliable than human indignation and self-righteousness -- even when faced with undeniably unjust conditions. They were ultimately triumphant in facing down the real culprits of their times and ours -- hatred, bigotry, persecution, hypocrisy, terror, and power-mongering.
Biblical experience signals a resounding theme as the record proceeds toward Jesus' time: For a society to be just, both the ruler and the governed need to open their hearts and lives to the total influence of divine law. Both have to acknowledge in Isaiah's words, " The Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver , the Lord is our king; he will save us." n1
n1 Isa. 33:22.
Christ Jesus knew best -- from his nights in prayer and his daily experience in healing -- that God's absolute government of every event could be proved. he didn't resort to human means to assert his citizenship in the kingdom of heaven. He relied on the power of the healing Christ, his spiritual nature, to face down the threats on his life. There is no question about the lasting effects of Jesus' ultimate protest against the murderous acts of the priests. We still look today with awe and hope at his resurrection.
His resurrection is a legal precedent. It means that in the face of any truly unjust condition we can find justice if we lodge our complaints in the court of Truth, God. Whether the unjust "law" is a medical prognosis or a social condition, we have a right to experience resurrection. We have a right to prove as Jesus did that false law cannot imprison or entomb us.
How do we lodge this protest? There is a clue in this description of Jesus' prayer given in Science and Health with Key to the Scripturesm by Mary Baker Eddy. n2 "It is neither Science nor Truth which acts through blind belief, nor is it the human understanding of the divine healing Principle as manifested in Jesus, whose humble prayers were deep and conscientious protests of Truth, -- of man's likeness to God and of man's unity with Truth and Love." n3
n2 Mary Baker Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n3 Science and Health,m p. 12.
When Jesus made demands for freedom -- from disease, immorality, death, from the trumped-up charges at his trial -- he made his demands on God. He made his complaint not so much against people as against the tyranny of mortality. He knew that God, eternal good, backed his complaint with divine law, which banishes eveil through good's very allness. It didn't matter that some people would interpret religious laws to ban healing on the Sabbath, or that others would prefer stoning to repentance. Jesus was not relying on people to be just. He knew that his spiritual protest had the transforming power of the divine lawmaker, Principle.
There is still transforming power in the prayer Jesus taught and in the example he set down. Any one of us can lodge our protest in the way Jesus did. While the adjustment in the broad human scene may seem gradual, we can begin to experience liberation in our own lives, and we can touch others. When we pray as Jesus taught, we join irresistible forces -- the march of Truth. This Truth, to the degree we understand and apply it, protects those who, uninformed of their divine rights, may suffer. And it transforms those who, uninformed of their spiritual obligations, might oppress. The transformation and healing of both is the appearing of God's government. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Genesis 18:25