a curious verse in my morning's reading
1 Peter 4:6 For this is the reason the gospel was proclaimed even to the dead, so that, though they had been judged in the flesh as everyone is judged, they might live in the spirit as God does.
From today's Daily Office reading.
When was the gospel preached to the dead? In their afterlife, right? Why? That they might live in the spirit as God does. What about the bad people who died?
The question is, how merciful is God?
James says, "Mercy triumphs over judgment." (James 2:13)
In the very beginning of the Bible, Adam and Eve are warned by God that if they eat the forbidden fruit they will die that day. They ate and did not die. Why? I think because mercy triumphs over judgment.
I keep saying justice is not ignored by God even though he is merciful. For example, consider this story from today's daily office, as summarized from a longer obituary article in the Washington Post recently.
Evangeline Moore, whose parents were killed in the first U.S. civil rights assassination, has died, never having found justice for their murder on Christmas night, 1951, in Mims, Florida. Harry and Harriette Moore were schoolteachers who founded a local chapter of the NAACP and later sued the school board for paying Black teachers less than Whites; the all-White school board fired them. They continued their civil rights work, founding the Progressive Voters’ League, which registered 100,000 Black citizens, while Harry became the NAACP state secretary. Then someone bombed their house. Harriette was killed and Harry was gravely injured; the nearest hospital that would accept Blacks was 30 miles away. Friends got him there, but he died; flowers for their funeral had to come from Miami, 200 miles away, because no one in Mims would serve them. The case was never solved, though a known Klansman committed suicide the day after he was questioned by police. Half a century later the town finally built a memorial.The article has a great closing quote from Moore. “My mother told me from her deathbed that she never wanted me to ever think about hating white people — or anybody else,” Ms. Moore told the Orlando Sentinel in 2009, “because it would make me ugly, and she didn’t want me to be an ugly woman.”
I might have used this image before on the blog, but I do not remember. Even killer Klansmen claimed to follow Jesus.
I agree with this photograph, Jesus saves violent racists. I also think suicidal bombers will be reconciled in the afterlife, not only to Jesus, but also to those they hurt. Jesus brings grace and truth (John 1:14,17), where mercy triumphs over justice.