It is a true privilege to live in a time and a place where justice is so deeply considered and actively sought. Whether it is through after-school programs for underprivileged youth, waging war against rape culture, or playing our part in reminding the nation that black lives really do matter, Harvard students show time and again a passion for righting the wrongs of our broken world. And those wrongs are many. At times it becomes overwhelming to recognize just how much evil is in the world, and the effects of our loving efforts often seem to be too slow or too small to really matter. It can admittedly be very difficult to fight for true justice without becoming jaded and disillusioned with the hope of ever actually attaining it. But some of us have found a way.
Some of us have found ourselves incontrovertibly moved by the idea of a just, honest, and radically empathetic God, whose enduring love for his wayward and defiant creation could drive Him to become human and die on our behalf, so that we could see the value of sacrificial forgiveness over vengeance.
Some of us are gripped by the tale of the perfect man, Jesus, whose resurrection proved his status as our forerunner, and whose message of reconciliatory justice declared victory over every form of evil, even for those of us who have lost all hope.
In our faith, we have found hope. And our hope in Christ is no ordinary hope. It empowers us to love our neighbors, even when they are racist or sexist or proud. It empowers us to love ourselves, even when we are too weak and too flawed and too tired. And it empowers us to seek a justice that reconciles broken hearts and heals wounds too deep for words, rather than a justice that relies on enmity and does nothing to resolve our bitterness.
In our faith, we are no longer afraid that we will die in vain, our struggle eventually lost to the ether and our names truly forgotten. We can trust that, though our fight against injustice on earth continues, Christ has already guaranteed our victory, by “reconciling to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:20). As Paul said in his first letter to the Corinthians, when all else fails, three things remain: faith, hope, and love. The last things. I thank God for giving us the opportunity to carry them to the finish.
Obasi Shaw ’17 is an English concentrator in Pforzheimer House.