Thursday, March 11, 2010

This week's lesson: righteousness

Look! Up in the sky!

It's a bird!

It's a plane!

No, it's the subject of this week's Sabbath School lesson!

To be sure, δικαιοσύνης ("righteousness") does not sound like the kind of word that belongs in a comic book. No, it's a "church" kind of word -- a word that summons images of people whose shirts are white, whose shoes are polished, and whose meals consist of tofu and tapwater.

Reason enough that Batman and Superman were never joined by "Righteousnessman."

But as the NIV Theological Dictionary of New Testament Words points out:
All the words in this group derive from dikê (justice, punishment). Dikê was the daughter of Zeus, who shared in his government of the world. . . . in order to make human life possible, he gave dikê, justice, whose implacable enemy is bia, violence.
The Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology adds that:
[Dikê] was the enemy of all falsehood, and the protectress of a wise administration of justice. . . . [She] appears as a divinity who severely punishes all wrong, watches over the maintenance of justice, and pierces the hearts of the unjust with the sword made for her by Aesa.
Kind of like Wonder Woman, only without the Lasso of Truth.

Now obviously, the concept of  δικαιοσύνης is going to develop and change before it finds a home in our Bible -- but even there, it is more active, more public, and much more concerned with the state of our society than we usually give it credit for.

In short, the superheroes' "Justice League" was a league of δικαιοσύνης.

And this week's lesson tells us δικαιοσύνης is also something that God's people should encourage.

Even if we don't wear a cape.

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