From the beginning (verses 1-8), this passage depicts a song of joyful celebration, praising God in the midst of tribulation and judgment. How is it possible to praise God when our city lies in ruin? Confidence in God’s fairness and justice leads us to rejoice and declare faith in a God who makes provision for righteousness even in the midst of tribulation.
The city that lies in ruin is not named. In reality the unnamed city represents every city, as a figurative description of organised human society. God will ultimately bring to judgment and upset existing selfish human order, that is the ultimate hope we have because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every human institution built on a logic that deals death will yield to life everlasting. God judges already judges injustice now, even when that does not seem evident.
Verse 6, announces a feast on a mountain that God will prepare to honour all peoples. It is an inclusive feast that signals the destruction and removal of calamity (v.7), death and disgrace from the whole earth (v. 8). The feast is a declaration of God’s victory over injustice that marginalises the poor and powerless.
The culmination of the song praise glorifies God as One who can be trusted. Trust in God who raised Jesus Christ from death to life motivates God’s people to remain faithful. The powerful in our communities, churches and organisations may self-preserve. God sees through their apparent success and God people should too. Called to contradict injustice, God’s people defiantly declare, ‘Surely this is our God … let us rejoice and be glad in (God’s) salvation.’ Flourishing societies that are built on God’s just principle of love are possible through the determined, faithful and defiant acts of the faithful who know through faith that life defies death.
We joyfully declare and proclaim Christ’s ultimate resurrection victory, as the basis for our defiant life-affirming actions, even if not popular or associated with what is deemed powerful in the present.
The gift of everlasting in Christ must lead us to live and act justly.
-Kuzipa Nalwamba, World Council of Churches
God of justice, inspire faith in us deep enough to declare your praises and work to build flourishing societies. We pose to examine the magnitude of ruin we have caused in our communities and to creation with our self-indulgent ways. Inspire our actions to proclaim justice for all of creation. Amen!
Praise God for:
Leaders of member churches who lead justly.
Church interventions and leaders who stand up for justice regarding migrants, victims of sexual abuse and violence, political mismanagement and plunder of national resources.
We pray for:
Member churches and leaders to uphold justice in church structures, personal life and in society.
Faithful preaching of the gospel of Christ to challenge greed in churches and society.