Last week I rode a bicycle from the far end of the Katy Trail all the way back to the church. It was a 301 mile ride to raise money to pay for the electronic equipment that the church needed so that we can have simultaneous online and in person worship services. So far that ride has raised $7,172.45. Thank you to everyone who supported the ride through your contributions and a special thank you to the welcoming party who met me in the church parking lot at the end of the ride. Your warm welcome touched my heart. Even though the ride is over you can still contribute to it. You can go to the church homepage, click on the bicycle wheel and it will walk you through how to contribute online. Last Sunday was our first full use of the new equipment. Thanks to the skill and dedication of our tech folks, our first simultaneous online and in person Sunday went very well. Please join me in thanking them for their good work.
The Katy Trail is an old railroad line that has been converted into a biking and hiking trail. At each town along the trail there is a rest stop. At the rest stops there are information boards that have mileage charts, maps, and interesting information about the history of the town. I didn’t stop to read them all, but after making the long steep hill climb up from Boonville to Pilot Grove I stopped there for a rest. The information board at Pilot Grove told a story about a woman whose pig was killed by a train. When she went to the railroad asking for compensation for the lost pig they gave her $5.00. That was far less than what the pig was worth, but the railroad refused to pay her any more for the pig. She persisted in seeking a just settlement with the railroad, but they continued to dismiss her. When it was clear that the railroad was not going to budge, she and her children put pork fat on the rails of the train tracks. This caused the trains to slide uncontrollably down the hill between Pilot Grove and Boonville. Her and her children put fresh pork fat on the rails every morning until finally justice was served and the railroad adequately compensated her for her pig.
In a small town in the region between Galilee and Samaria, as Jesus was on his way up to Jerusalem, he told a story about a woman who kept going to the judge asking for justice against her opponent. She refused to accept injustice and kept coming back until she finally wore the judge out and he granted her justice. You can find that story in Luke 18:1-8. If Jesus were speaking to the people in Pilot Grove I think he would have started the story saying, “There was a woman whose pig was killed by a train…”
Jesus’ words before and after the parable are instructions about persevering in praying for justice. The opening words are, ”Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.” It ends with Jesus saying, “Will God not grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night?” Jesus message with this parable is that God will bring justice, and as disciples of Jesus we are to be praying for God’s justice to come.
Our nation is experiencing significant unrest around justice issues. As people are protesting and counter protesting, and as conversations about justice are hardening people against each other, we would do well to remember Jesus’ words about persisting in praying for God’s justice to come. Perhaps if we spent more time praying for God’s justice to come there would be fewer calls to bring justice through smearing pork fat all over our cities. Before your next protest, angry email forwarding, Facebook posting or dismissive conversation with someone who thinks differently than you, perhaps you would also pause long enough to pray for God’s version of justice to come. We should be praying for justice as we work for justice, trusting that God will bring a holier version of justice than the one we’ve created.