Last night I was invited to introduce Cry the Beloved Country at Stormont Presbyterian church as part of their justice month. I’ll blog a little on Cry the Beloved Country later but first here is last night’s introduction on how the justice we should strive for looks a lot like Kevin Costner.
What does cinematic justice look like?
Dare I suggest it looks like Kevin Costner but first a little bit of Deuteronomy & James. Deuteronomy is not many people’s go to for biblical quotes and inspirations around just but Deuteronomy 27:19 puts it bluntly for us:
“Cursed be anyone who deprives the alien, the orphan and the widow of justice”
The biblical imperative is clear long before Jesus of how we are to act.
Some say that faith alone is enough for the Christian. The belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus is sufficient and will see us safely into the golden streets of heaven.
I’ve never liked that suggestion.
For me it makes Christianity nothing more than a box ticking exercise. Believe these simple steps and have your ticket punched into the grandest club house of them all.
I can’t believe that.
James 2 14-18 is the antidote to this school of thought an speaks of the value of work and says
“So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead”
One if these works I believe, is the pursuit of justice and that brings me to Kevin Costner.
Costner has never played Jesus on screen but in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves he wasn’t that far away.
Have you ever considered how radical a story Robin Hood is?
King Richard has left for the Crusades and left his brother, John, in charge. John has none of his brother’s good intent and England very quickly descends into a land of greed and corruption with a structure that squeezes its people for all they have.
Taxes up and the value of people down and more scandalous all lords, authority and the church come on board.
One man thought rises up against this.
Robin sets himself in opposition to society, gathers a group of disciples and set about their radical mission. They attempt to redress the balance, taking from the rich giving to the poor, sheltering the infirm and protecting women.
Now you may think I’m stretching parallels and its important to say that I’m not suggesting that seeking justice means taking to the woods with mates, bows and arrows in hand and ambushing people in fancy cars. However when Jesus tell us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick. Robin Hood is no that far away from living this command out.
Ask yourself who is the more Christ like? The outlaw attempting to redress the balance; or the pious priests of the church collecting alms from the poor for the wealthy and refusing to be their advocate?
Robin Hood rises against a society that doesn’t work. Robin Hood takes action against a society that does not protect all of its citizens’ welfare and is no longer fit for purpose.
The question then needs to be asked of us. Are we any further on in 2016?