David’s anger erupted when he heard the tale, “As the LORD lives,” he swore to Nathan, “the rich man who took his poor neighbor’s only lamb should die; he must restore the lamb fourfold because of what he did.” (2 Samuel 12:5-6)
David sinned against Uriah,
and Bathsheba suffered —
the assault on her body, the
humiliation of their marriage,
the death of a child. Tell me, O Just One:
when will Bathsheba’s loss be restored fourfold?
People sin against one another,
and those at the borders suffer —
the strain of codeswitching to navigate
safe passage, the walls of spirit and nation
that insult wayfarers and refugees, the death
of separation and criminalization. Tell me, O Just One,
when will the border-crossers and the marginalized be restored fourfold?
Fourfold — not forgiveness.
Fourfold — not fragile tears.
Fourfold — not false apologies.
Fourfold — not food that perishes.
Fourfold — not gaslighting reversals.
Where, O Just One,
is the brick to rebuild the bulldozed home,
the insurance to sustain healing after trauma,
the sacrificed wealth to invest in polluted communities?
Where, O Just One,
is the king who surrenders his throne,
the rich man who gives up his bank account,
the suburb that gives up its segregated school district?
Must those who have been harmed
by the sin and selfishness of others
be content to beg heaven for manna?
Fourfold, O Just One.
Even David in his sin measured justice to be fourfold.
Will you bring about any less?
on this Sunday’s RCL texts
Rachel G. Hackenberg‘s book with co-author Martha Spong,, Denial Is My Spiritual Practice (and Other Failures of Faith), includes memories of church nurseries and grandmothers, opinions about labyrinths and weddings, and an abundance of caffeine, as Martha and Rachel strive to make sense of faith through the trials & failures of life.
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