God of justice, come again

This post was originally sent out during Advent in a newsletter I write for a church. It has been adapted for the Twelve Days of Christmas 2019-20.
Psalm 72 is believed to be a Messianic Psalm, one that referred to the prophesied Christ thousands of years before he was born. In NIV it begins, “Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness. May he judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice” (1,2). The prayer for this foretold king, Christ Jesus, is that he will be just.
But it doesn’t end there. The psalmist prays the king will be just towards those who are suffering, afflicted, and oppressed.
Verse four is pretty explicit: “May he defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; may he crush the oppressor.” The psalmist goes on to pray that all other kings will come to him in worship, giving him gifts and licking his dust because he is THAT mighty and worthy of their service.
Why?? “For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight. Long may he live!” (12-15a).
This God is worthy of our praise. This God is our redeemer. This God is the Messiah for Chicago’s Westside as for the Jews. He is the God for all who are oppressed and afflicted, all who need justice. This God says our blood is precious in his sight.
He is the God for our sons and daughters whose teachers try their best but lack resources. He is the God for our cousins and uncles and fathers who don’t make it home from work due to gun violence. He is the God for our aunts and mothers who give us their all so we can have food on the table and clothes on our backs. He is the God for our sisters with breast cancer and our brothers doing time for crimes they didn’t deserve so many years for.
He sees all our blood and views it as precious. That was true in King David’s prophecy, true when Jesus hung on the tree for our sins and sicknesses, and is just as true today as we both remember his first coming through Mary’s bloody womb in these Twelve Days of Christmas and expect his second coming.
“Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds. Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen” (18, 19).

Twenty things I learned before 2020

This post is special for two reasons. Firstly, it welcomes in a new year and decade. Cheers to 2020! May God bless us with stability and peace where we need it, the courage and faith to obey Him, and joy through his Spirit. 

Secondly, this is my hundredth blog post on this site!

Now, I could write 100 somethings to celebrate that fact, but lists that long tend to be overwhelming. Instead, I’ll share twenty assorted things that I have learned over the past decade, and particularly over the last five years.

Feel free to add your own in the comments!

  1. Being away from family isn’t the easiest, since I am blessed with an amazing one, but friendships can be just as sweet.

  2. Working the opening shift is the best. Especially when you can see the sunrise through your window.

  3. Being vegetarian isn’t hard when you have reasons for it! (The same goes for anything; if you have convictions, you can act decisively, even if it is difficult in some cases.)

  4. Language acquisition requires active communication in that language. You have to practice.  

  5. Math and piano also need continual practice even once you reach a certain level. You can lose your skills even if you excelled at one point. Not everything is like riding a bike. 

  6. It’s rewarding to obey the prompts of the Holy Spirit.

  7. Find yourself a church community. You’ll be doing yourself a favor.

  8. Colorful lipstick is the bomb. 

  9. There is no shame in getting counseling. In fact, it’s quite helpful.

  10. Refugees are awesome people. They are courageous, innovative and dedicated creators, survivors, and humans.

  11. It’s best to wait for what God has promised instead of going against his timeline or words. That can actually hurt you, but what God has promised is so, so good.

  12. Mayonde was right: Ain’t no city like Nairobi. Well…maybe Denver. ☀️

  13. Zero waste is the way to go. Reduce, reuse, recycle, and buy biodegradable!

  14. Cacti make great pets. 

  15. Race DOES need to be talked about since the underlying issues have not yet been solved. You can read the story of how I came to realize that here.

  16. It’s okay to let people go as you mature and move into different stages of life. Your high school friends might not be your best friends forever, and that’s okay. 

  17. At the same time, pursue relationships you want to keep.

  18. Know the reasons why you believe what you do or live a certain way. 

  19. Be open to difference!!!

  20. Be compassionate and empathetic

Happy new year, everyone! Subscribe for more blog posts, including a special guest post in Memoirs of the Trees