Let our voices shout out
"Learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow." Isaiah 1:17
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.” Luke 19:38–40
As Christians, we have a biblical mandate to seek justice by speaking out against systems of oppression that exploit, dehumanize and abuse people. Just as Jesus spoke against corruption in society, so must we. But what does this call look like when it interferes with our understanding of peace? Those who greeted Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem on a humble donkey, not a powerful war horse that Roman soldiers rode on, misunderstood the peace God was seeking to bring into the world.
Society has taught us that peace is the absence of conflict. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines societal peace as “a state of tranquility or quiet such as freedom from civil disturbance.” Unfortunately, this understanding of peace does not consider the inequities of society that call for us to speak up, not to remain silent so that the proverbial boat will not be rocked. The Pharisees wanted silence from the people. They wanted silence from Jesus. But peace doesn’t come from staying silent. Staying silent only perpetuates a system that maintains the tranquility of the privileged. Is that really peace?
As we begin Holy Week, we must ponder two questions: Can there be peace in the world with no justice? And will it be our voices crying out or will the stones have to shout for us?
Lord, guide us this Holy Week on our journey for justice. Help us understand the true meaning of peace. Strengthen our voices so that we continue speaking up for what is right. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.