By: Chad Hyatt
Zephaniah 3. 14-20
Reflection—v. 19 ‘I will deal with all your oppressors…’
The prophets promise God will decisively intervene in human history to establish justice for the oppressed, to create a world in which all human beings enjoy the dignity and respect that is our common gift and right. We often imagine justice as vengeance. But what if God’s justice is mercy? Zephaniah’s language is open enough to leave room for something unexpected. That openess is where Jesus enters, fulfilling the hope of the prophets and the oppressed. Make no mistake: mercy is not easy for us nor does it avoid sin—the concrete acts of harm we do to one another and the twisting of the human heart that is a result. Mercy opens our eyes to truly see sin in all of its terribleness—not just in those who have harmed us but in ourselves and within our own communities. Mercy demonstrates that God has taken a radical responsibility for our well-being by offering us a way out. God’s justice creates the possibility of newness when everything seems old and tired, of possibility where there seems to be no hope at all. Mercy is the wondrous saving justice of God that reconciles—rather than destroying or excluding anyone.
Prayer God, in your mercy, save us.