In Matthew 27:45-46, it says, “Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. 46And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” If Jesus is God, why would He say this?
Faith and justice meet together because we dare to ask the question in our darkest hours, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” In this fourth saying of Jesus on the cross, we are acutely aware of unjust suffering and unparalleled injustice.
Faith and justice meet when we realize that, despite the stirring rhetoric of Pres. Obama, we are not yet in a post-race world. Perhaps this is why so many people began to identify with the tragic shooting of Oscar Grant. Could it be that Grant became the embodiment of the evil unfairly associated with Black skin? It seemed as though God himself turned his back on Grant, and the hundreds of Black youths who are murdered on the streets of Berkeley, Richmond and Oakland, year after year.
Why is it that Black officers never seem to accidentally shoot White citizens? Yet our own complacency has made us complicit with such crimes. Our silence infers that Black life has little validity, and shooting us is not worthy of more than a raised eyebrow. Instead, like Jesus, we must begin to cry out, “My God, My God, why?”
The theodical word here is instructive for faith and justice to become partners in communal wholeness. For theodicy is that branch of theology which asks how a good God can allow such evil to exist?
Faith and justice stand together as God has proven a steadfastness which does not forsake us, but is right here with us. God was there for a young James Meredith, an unfairly assassinated Medgar Evers, a worn out Fannie Lou Hammer, and a steadfast Rosa Parks. Each of them endured unspeakable pain and humiliation but God was there.
God was there and God is here – moving through our social programs and volunteers, our church communities and our neighborhoods, and through the NAACP. It is through this momentous strength that we are able to rise with dignity and run the race for justice – a justice which embraces us all.
— Rev. C. L. Nash is an Associate Minister at McGee Avenue Baptist Church (Berkeley, CA)