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N. T. Wright Reflects on Our Longing for Justice

In his book, Simply Christian, N. T. Wright begins his chapter entitled "Putting the World to Rights" with the following personal story:

I had a dream the other night, a powerful and interesting dream. And the really frustrating thing is that I can't remember what it was about. I had a flash of it as I woke up, enough to make me think how extraordinary and meaningful it was; and then it was gone … . Our passion for justice often seems like that. We dream the dream of justice. We glimpse, for a moment, a world at one, a world put to rights, a world where things work out, where societies function fairly and efficiently … . and then we wake up and come back to reality.

According to Wright, our longing for justice "comes with the kit of being human." Unfortunately, although we all strive for justice, we often fail to achieve it. As Wright says,

You fall off your bicycle and break your leg. You go to the hospital and they fix it. You stagger around on crutches for awhile. Then, rather gingerly, you start to walk normally again … . There is such a thing as putting something to rights, as in fixing it, as getting it back on track. You can fix a broken leg, a broken toy, a broken television. So why can't we fix injustice. It isn't for lack of trying.

And yet, in spite of failures to fix injustice, we keep dreaming that one day all broken things will be set right. Wright contends, "Christians believe this is so because all humans have heard, deep within themselves, the echo of a voice which calls us to live [with a dream for justice]. And [followers of Christ] believe that in Jesus that voice became human and did what had to be done to bring it about."

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