God on Monday
He will not cry out or lift up his voice or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully
bring forth justice (Isaiah 42;2-3).
As a solicitor specialising in commercial litigation, you might expect me to have a well-honed understanding of justice. But I often struggle to comprehend how my daily work serves the wider cause of justice.
On good days, I see my professional role as a peacemaker as I seek to resolve disputes. On other days, my work can appear uncomfortably tied to the grubby compromises that exist in some parts of the marketplace. Law and justice are, after all, not the same.
We can often convince ourselves that those working to deliver justice are primarily noisy public campaigners. There is, after all, much to be outraged about in these turbulent times. But the justice-bringing Servant we encounter in Isaiah is anything but a rabble-rouser.
God’s justice is built on the covenant relationship with God and with each other, to which human beings are called. In other words, true justice is a communal endeavour that involves mutual commitment between human beings and a commitment to a moral standard that lies beyond themselves. God’s humble Servant embodies that kind of commitment.
But Isaiah tells us that this Servant will not deliver justice through shouting in the streets, nor will he snuff out a dimly burning wick. Our traumatised and bruised world can often seem like a flickering and failing flame. The Servant, however, trims that wick, soaks it in a deep well of oil, and kindles its flame.
We are called to follow the Servant’s example by seeing our daily lives as playing a part in this wider project of justice. Like the Servant, we are to blow gently on the dwindling flames we encounter. This will nurse them to new life and allow them to cast light into the pervading darkness.
Whatever your professional role, recognise its place in bringing God’s justice into the world.
Be encouraged that a transformed world will not be delivered by an isolated handful of crusaders. Jesus shows us that justice is brought about through the way we conduct our relationships in our daily lives.
When we see smouldering and dimming wicks, do not divert your eyes towards wicks that burn brightly. For by helping the weakest around us, we fan the flames of justice.
Lord of flickering flames, help us to recognise our ability to bring about your justice. May we never lack the zeal to deliver righteous judgments for the weak by imitating your Servant’s humility and gentleness.
Look up Matthew 12, which echoes the humble Servant in Isaiah’s prophecy as Jesus retreats from the crowd (Mt 12.15-21). What does this tell us about how we might help fulfil God’s mission today?
This Week's Author
, Solicitor and Partner at Schofield Sweeney LLP; member of Holy Trinity Boar Lane, a church in Leeds with a ministry to city workers.
God on Monday is produced in partnership with the Church of England. The reflections are based on the scriptural readings designated for the coming Sunday in the Church's lectionary. You can sign up to Faith in Business here to receive each God on Monday instalment. Feel free to share these reflections with your contacts via email and social media.