|Posted by communications on September 23, 2020 at 4:10 PM|
In one of the many tributes that was published last week, I read that on Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s wall in her chambers at the Supreme Court, she displayed three Hebrew words in beautiful calligraphy: Tzedek, tzedek tirdof. The words translate as “Justice, justice, you shall pursue” and they come from the Bible, specifically Deuteronomy 16:20.
These days, justice often feels in short supply. We’ve now passed the 200,000 mark in COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., and as I write, the city of Louisville is on edge as they await word about the fate of those responsible for Breonna Taylor’s death. As people of faith, we know that part of our calling is to uphold justice, and yet we struggle with how to live this out.
The struggle for justice becomes even more challenging when our personal reserve of energy is low. An online article entitled “Your Surge Capacity Is Depleted – It’s Why You Feel Awful” has been making the rounds, and it explains how, in the early stages of a crisis like this pandemic, we actually thrive. We gain energy from the initial fervor of pivoting and adapting and problem-solving. There’s a “honeymoon phase” in which we come together (virtually, in our current context) and grow stronger. But then comes the “disillusionment phase” when all the new challenges catch up to us right around the same time our initial surge of energy runs out. Whether in the church or work or school, many experts are saying this is where we now are. It’s a necessary part of the process, but it is hard. The grief we feel about the lives lost plus the traditions and opportunities missed may show up as anger, resentment, lethargy, or despair. Of course it is hard to feel motivated to work for justice when we are collectively experiencing these kinds of emotions.
The good news is that, after the disillusionment phase comes the “reconstruction phase” when we begin to work through our grief, build up our reserves of energy, and envision our future. There is so much we do not and cannot know about the weeks and months ahead of us, but as followers of Jesus, we know that justice must be at the heart of our reconstructing work.
Tzedek, tzedek tirdof
Yours in Christ,