Tomorrow’s Gospel lesson (Luke 18:1-8) is about persistence. Jesus tells the story of a judge who respected neither God nor other people, and of the widow who repeatedly goes to this “unjust judge” to ask for justice against her opponent. Her persistence wears him down, and he gives her justice just so she will stay away. Jesus says that if an unjust judge eventually does the right thing, God will much more quickly bring justice to God’s children who cry out day and night.
Then Jesus asks this question: “And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” How much faith in a God who hears our cries for justice do we have?
This week again there was discouraging news. Climate Progress yesterday reported NASA reports the hottest January to September on record . I read this week an interview by David Helvarg with the President of the Pacific island nation of Kiribati, telling of the unimaginable task Kiribati faces of trying to get wealthier nations to act on climate change soon enough and strongly enough to give his nation some hope of staying above water (yes, literally) while also figuring out what happens to the nation and its people if climate change continues on its present course. Already they have erosion and flooding at high tides, and salt water intruding on their cropland.
The response of the wealthier nations has not been positive, but President Anote Tong of Kiribati, like the President of the Maldives and others, is persistent in pursuing justice. If we are faithful to our baptismal covenant to seek and serve Christ in all persons, to strive for justice and peace, and to respect the dignity of every human being, we will join our voices with theirs.
Being persistently faithful is inseparable from being persistently hopeful. Even in the face of a daunting task, we continue to act to bring about a healthier planet for all. Our hope is that our faithful persistence will eventually wear down the powerful political and economic interests that respect neither God’s creation nor other human beings. Our hope is that our cries for justice and our acting as people who know justice is on its way will bring about the changes we need sooner rather than later.