Pastor’s Pen: “The Arc of the Moral Universe”

I turned on the radio this morning to learn that the terrorist group, al-Shabaab, stormed a college campus in Kenya. Christians were shot on the spot. As of this writing, the Muslim extremist group is holding several hostages.

Such news breaks the heart, but it’s not uncommon. Injustice, hatred, and suffering seem to be all too prevalent. Thankfully, most of us will not face such horrible circumstances, but in reality, we all have tasted the bitterness of this world. Some have it worse than others. How in the world do we keep from falling into cynicism and despair?

Martin Luther King, Jr. reflecting on the setbacks of the Civil Rights Movement once declared, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” It is meant to be a comfort to those in the middle of the struggle. Yes, the difficulties that we face are great, but have hope. Justice will eventually prevail. The words sound as if they carry the weight of scientific fact. As certain as the law of gravity, the universe is pulled toward justice. It is written into the original programming.

I appreciate the sentiment, but can we trust it? The ongoing experiment called life seem to suggest entropy not order. The overwhelming evidence suggests struggle. One set of interests is pitted against another. A third finally prevails only to be replaced by another. Victory justifies both means and ends.

I’m not sure where others go to avoid falling into a nihilistic abyss. For us as Christians, the story of Jesus Christ is confirmation that God is not dead. Jesus Christ was crucified. He was dead and buried. He was another innocent victim in a history of innocent victims. However, contrary to all expectations, he rose. The empty tomb affirms that Martin Luther King, Jr. was correct. The world does makes sense, even when our lives don’t.

Easter is not about bunnies and baby chicks. The new life of spring will eventually give way to decay and death. Instead, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is God’s declaration that truth, life and love are the way the world works. Even on a personal level, we know that injustice, suffering, and death are only temporary. As followers of the risen Christ, we live each day with courage working for God’s justice.

Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.