If there are two verses that any Christian, in any kind of position of authority or power or responsibility, should read daily - it’s Isaiah 1: 16-17. The words are found in the Old Testament and enacted beautifully in the life of Jesus in the New Testament.
Wash yourself anew each day, continually refocus, removing the hubris and arrogance that can come from a position of high office. Then carry on learning how to do good - you may struggle every day to do good - but that doesn’t mean you should stop studying. You may not find justice everyday but you can seek it each day. And in each and every day and in each and every way you can rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, and plead for the widow.
One of my favourite musicians is the Northern Irish singer-songwriter Brian Houston. He has such an electric, wholehearted, honest stage presence. One of his most haunting and tender songs is ‘Everybody needs a healer’ - a yearning meditation on the fragility of the human condition. He sings, “Everybody needs a healer / Everybody needs a friend / Everybody needs a lover / On whom they can depend / So lay down in the arms of the father / Look into the eyes of the son / For in the spirit of his mercies / There’s a place for everyone.” We all need a healer and with God there is room for everyone - those on the edges, the periphery, those falling through the cracks, those who find themselves somehow oppressed, orphaned or widowed.
My prayer today is that Christians who find themselves in a position of power over others
would stop and see their own weakness, their own fragility, their own need to be washed and made clean
that they would be renewed to do all they can
with all they can
to rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, and plead for the widow,
because everybody needs a healer.
16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your doings
from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
17 learn to do good;
rescue the oppressed,
defend the orphan,
plead for the widow.