God, the Creator, is letting the people know that God is at work (Is 45). God is not the Deist God sitting comfortably in heaven and watching creation run. God is not a remote, aloof clockmaker.
No, God is active. God forms light. God creates darkness. Go makes well-being. God creates woe. God does all things. God is the designer and maker of the earth. God established the earth. God designed the earth to be lived in.
God, the Creator, is God of all the peoples. All are the spiritual descendants of Israel. God comes to different cultures in different disguises. God has created every person in God’s own image and likeness. God has no favorites—people or nations. God is not on anybody’s side. God is on everybody’s side. God is with us.
Isaiah sees wonderful, life-giving things happening because God is with the people. Justice—right order, right relationships—is descending like dew, like a gentle rain. Get the imagery. Like the dew and gentle rain the droplets of justice are falling on us and washing us clean. Salvation, restoration to health and wholeness, falls gently upon us.
God is compassionate, merciful and just. God is ever restoring relationships, making all things new. Amos reminds us that at times God is not so gentle, “Justice rolls down like a mighty river.” Get the image of rushing, roaring water cascading down cleaning everything in its torrential path.
This simply reminds us that faith requires us to live in paradox. Justice is gentle and overpowering.
In Advent, we look for the clouds to rain down the just one. The rain can be gentle or torrential. God’s compassion is gentle. God’s cleansing action may not be so gentle at times as we have to let go of what is keeping us from living justly. If we are “guilty bystanders” when it comes to justice, we are complicit in the evil that oppresses us and others. Paolo Friere reminds us that the oppressors and victims need forgiveness and healing. Oppressors probably need torrential showers to wake them up for cleansing. Thunderstorms of justice shake the earth and rattle the walls of the house. The oppressed need but feel God’s gentle presence because in their need they are more open to God. The dew of justice gently settles upon them and restores them to wholeness.
It is Advent. We are longing for the Just One—Jesus the Christ—to rain down on us once again. The work of Jesus is evident. The new order has begun to sprout. Jesus proclaims peace to God’s children—all God’s children, no exceptions! Truth sprouts forth. Justice and peace kiss passionately. Salvation has come.
John wonders what is going on since the day he baptized the One Who Is to Come. He sends his disciples. They ask Jesus if he is the Just One. By this time, Jesus has been preaching, teaching and healing.
Jesus does not enter into a long speech or a lengthy justification, He simply says:
“Go and tell John what you have seen and heard:
the blind regain their sight,
the lame walk,
lepers are cleansed,
the deaf hear, the dead are raised,
the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.
And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”
Again, God in the person of Jesus the Christ is active. The blind see. The lame leap. The deaf hear. The dead are raised. The poor hear good news.
The poor hear good news. Justice is falling gently upon them, The Just One hears their cries. The Just One brings the balm of compassion and mercy. The Just One restores right order, right relationships.
Take heart. Amid wars, environmental destruction, bank failures, home foreclosures, Swine Flu and AIDS pandemics, a war president receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, genocide, oppression, unjust leaders, and presumptuous, patriarchal prelates, all is well. And all will be well. The Just One is coming. At times, justice will fall like gentle dew. At other times, it will roar down like a mighty river. God is God and God is doing God’s work among us.