A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;…This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah…my servant…a bruised reed he will not break…until he brings justice.Isaiah 42:3 / Matt 12:17-21
I was sat up early this morning with one of the ‘four musketeers’ as I’ve recently named my daughters. I’ll leave those of you who know them well to decide who’s who in the analogy, however it was D’artagnan that required my presence at 4am today! I was able to spend a few precious moments stroking her foot and then settled down to read today’s Morning Office from CDP until I heard the familiar snorts of a deep enough sleep for me to return to my own attempts at slumber. But of course, the fight for justice that the three (plus one) musketeers embarked upon was a work of fiction; injustice in the world is not. Injustice is simply about power and oppression, the weak dominated by the strong. The ideology of the vocal majority often suppressing the rights of the silent minority, or conversely a powerful minority oppressing a silent majority. Injustice is everywhere; in the home, at work, in our schools, in the justice system itself in many parts of the world. It effects all genders, ethnicities, religions and ages. The bitter cry of those powerless to change their own circumstances along with those desperate for vindication from the horror of false accusation, imprisonment or simply misunderstanding cry out alike. Since the earth cried out with the blood of Able, so the cries of those that just simply need a righteous advocate to stand with them have echoed throughout the history of humanity.
When I was working in central America during my military service, I had the privilege to spend some time with the Gurkha Infantry and I learned an important life lesson. My first encounter with them was at morning P.T. at 5am. Now, I’m 6ft 3in tall with a long stride; Gurkhas are not. As we set off for our run I was smiling to myself, as I could quite happily get one of my strides in for two of theirs. I hardly broke a sweat for the first mile or so. They kept running. An hour later, at exactly the same pace, they kept running. Eventually we returned to camp. I was a broken, limping and sweating mess, only just holding it together as best as my pride would allow. The jungle is not a flat place, and yet their pace never faltered. Up or down, straight, narrow, muddy or dry; it mattered not. Their pace was slow, measured, orderly and yet relentless, un-nerving and extremely impressive.
Through Isaiah, God is not narrating human suffering in the context of our bruising through the challenges of life, even though injustice bruises as much as anything. Isaiah is writing of the type of justice that only our true advocate can bring. A bruised reed will not be broken because his justice moves with stealth, carefully, measured and in perfect timing. A smouldering wick not snuffed out because often his movement is so imperceivable that it creates no draft. His justice may not always appear in our lifetime, as the many innocent lives that are prematurely snuffed out will testify. But none the less his Justice will come, because he has come and is still yet to come. Jesus asked the crowd in Matthew 12 not to speak of his miracle, as his time had yet not come. But that time would come, and for all those that are suffering or have suffered injustice, that time will come again. As St Paul wrote to the Thessalonians:
You are suffering now, but justice is on its way.2 These 5:10