Monday, December 8, 2014


The Arc of Justice?
Millennium Sundial
On the John T. Myers Pedestrian Bridge
between Lafayette & West Lafayette, Indiana

[See also "Interstellar Thanksgiving"]

I had an interesting listening experience a couple of Sundays ago. During the Old Testament lesson, I kept hearing the word inequity, though the word on the page was clearly iniquity:
. . . we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. . . . thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. . . . we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. Be not wroth very sore, O Lord, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.
Isaiah 64: 6 - 12 (King James Version)

Perhaps my brain was tweaking the message just a bit to make it more relevant for citizens of the 21st century. Whether we should or not, do we much bemoan our iniquities? No, not really. Inequity, on the other hand, fills the news and plagues us daily. We struggle with how to redress the racial inequity of American history, how to correct the economic inequity that leaves so many basic needs unfulfilled, and how to establish social equity among all persons and environmental equity upon the earth.

As the reading came to a close and the next hymn was announced, I was still pondering the contemporary relevance of my inadvertent rewording. Imagine my surprise, not to mention the ultimate satisfaction of connection and coincidence, when we reached the last word of the first stanza:
Hail to the Lord’s anointed, great David’s greater Son!
Hail in the time appointed, His reign on earth begun!
He comes to break oppression, to set the captive free;
To take away transgression and rule in equity.
There you have it -- equity! Thus confirming my intuition that somehow inequity was a more appropriate watchword for the day than iniquity. This hymn's emphasis on equality reminded me of two more references:

1. The message of social justice embedded in the beautiful Christmas carol "Oh Holy Night":
O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth . . .

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease . . .
2. This brief but powerful reminder that if ever there is to be peace on earth, we must address inequity and close the gap between poverty and prosperity:

Who is weak, and I am not weak?
who is offended, and I burn not?

2 Corinthians 11:29 (King James Version)


  1. Nice work kiddo! Xoxox Equanimity is the state Buddhism tries to bring us to....

  2. Sharing from my brother Bruce Carriker's Musical Countdown to Christmas:


    #1 You've all been waiting for this, so you can throw things and yell at me for leaving out your favorites. Sorry, but these are my favorites. Our lists don't have to agree; but please feel free to tell me what you think I left out.

    Christmas Carol #1 - Oh Holy Night by the Crofts Family. I've never heard of the Crofts Family. I chose their rendition because they seem to be the only one to actually know HOW the song goes. O Holy Night has three verses and three distinct choruses. Did you get that, Josh Groban? John Berry? Jennifer Hudson? Mariah Carey? Celine Dion? Celtic Woman? Gaither Vocal Band? Pentatonix? Martina McBride? And all the rest of you?

    THREE verses and THREE distinct choruses. Not three verses with the same chorus. Not the first verse and chorus sung three times. Not the first and second verses. Not the first and third verses. THREE VERSES and THREE distinct choruses.

    It occurs to me that many folks may have never heard all three verses and all three choruses, since no artist feels compelled to sing the complete song. So, here are the lyrics to O Holy Night, so you can follow along:

    O Holy Night
    The stars are brightly shining
    It is the night of our dear Savior's birth
    Long lay the world in sin and error pining
    'Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth
    A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
    For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

    Fall on your knees O hear the angels voices.
    O night divine O night when Christ was born
    O night divine, O night, O night divine.

    Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
    With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
    So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
    Here came the wise men from Orient land.
    The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
    In all our trials born to be our friend.

    He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
    Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
    Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!

    Truly He taught us to love one another;
    His law is love and His gospel is peace.
    Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
    And in His name all oppression shall cease.
    Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
    Let all within us praise His holy name.

    Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
    His power and glory evermore proclaim.
    O night divine, O night, O night divine