Scripture: 2 Kings 9:1-2, 6-7, 11-13
- Many of us carry around injustices, wounds, and hurts and have had to carry that, while the world has gone around like everything is just fine, normal and right. What are some times this has been your experience? How did that feel?
- So much of the world’s story is about a “peace” achieved at the cost of ignoring past hurts, keeping injustices hidden and buried. In a past week we talked about justice delayed, but what are examples of injustice overlooked? What are some examples throughout history, in society today, or in your own life?
- We see in the scripture today that even in instances where injustices go unseen by others (in this case the covered-up murder of Naboth by Jezebel and Ahab), God still sees them. As Will says, "God sees the injustices that no one else sees. God sees the hurts and pain that others cover up and ignore. It rises as a cry to God and God hears that cry! If you’ve been holding onto the pain of an injustice, however big or small, and holding it a lonely way, I just want you to know this: God sees it. God hears your cries. God cares about that pain." What does this change? How does it feel or would it feel to believe that?
- Will offers invitations to tell the truth about unseen injustices before God and gives the following suggestions on what that looks like: "Maybe that means journaling about it, or naming it honestly in prayer, and inviting God to hold you and meet you there. Maybe, telling the truth means sharing your pain, and the way you’ve been wronged, with someone safe. It might just mean going on a healing journey; it might mean taking steps to get you in a safer place; it might mean addressing a wrong, or seeking reconciliation. Different injustices and wounds have different remedies, but it always starts with truth-telling." Do any of these invitations resonate with you? Or can you think of a different one that would? What is one think you would like to try on this list?
- In the scripture for this sermon, Jehu comes acting on God's orders and everyone on Jezebel and Ahab's side asks him if he "comes in peace" to which he continually replies, "What do you have to do with peace?" Things are finally peaceful for Jezebel and Ahab despite the injustices they committed and God comes and disrupts that peace. We don't often think of God as disrupting peace...but in what situations might God do just that?
- Will says of the peace Ahab and Jezebel have, "It’s a “peace” among the people built upon forsaking the love of God in their hearts, and forsaking the image of God in their neighbors. So Kings wants to show us that not only does God see and care about injustices that have been overlooked, but that God is discontent with and wants to disrupt false peace, “peace” achieved through unjust means." Can you think of a situation in your life - or in this world - where the “peace” is really a sham? Where it’s not anything like the harmony of shalom? Where the “unity” of things was achieved through bullying or silencing? Ignoring or hush-hushing the wrongs? Where “everyone getting along” is achieved by avoiding rather than addressing wrongs and seeking reconciliation?
- This passage is hard to grapple with in many ways because the justice Jehu metes out is incredibly violent and bloody, it is hard to reconcile such depicitions of violence with a loving God. Have you ever had such tensions with scripture? What parts?
- Will talks about how scripture is meant to be read like a symphony where later parts of the text add on to and complete earlier ones. Jesus reinterprets what happens in Kings and speaks against violent justice and instead offers another way through his sacrifice. "Where the story of Abel declares that God hears injustice, and the story of Naboth declares that God sees injustice, the story of Jesus declares that God actually shares in the experience of injustice. God feels its pain. Jesus is with us when the world is against us." What do you think of this?
- "The invitation of Kings, as read through the lens of the gospels, is to find God in Jesus, standing with all those who bear the pain of injustice. There Jesus offers his presence, he speaks our names, holds our tears. And we also find Jesus standing with the truth tellers, those who call out false peace, who work to heal and bring true peace and justice. And there Jesus offers the sword of the Spirit to cleanse and convict, empower and embolden us, to join in the fight against evil until God fulfills the promise to put an end to evil forever, wipe away every tear, and make all things new." What does this mean for us in out experiences of injustice? How have you seen this in your own life and the world?