For Labor Day

Subtitle: The letter and the spirit of the law

On a main thoroughfare, about a mile from my home, is a lawyer’s office, fronted by a conspicuous roadside sign flashing in bright crimson neon a scripture citation: Isaiah 43.2.[1]

I don’t know the attorney. Yet I assume the publicizing of a biblical reference is an expression of scripture-rooted beliefs and values.

A dear friend and attorney, Woodley Beal Osborne, once said to me, “Paul, there’s a reason it’s called law school and not justice school.”

Yes, there’s a difference, sometimes vast, between law as a system of behavioral regulatory rules established and enforced by society and government[2] and justice, whether rooted in natural law or sacred principle, that ethical, universal and unconditional quality of fairness for all people.

As a follower of Jesus who seeks to share love and justice with all people, I wonder where this barrister draws the line between conventional jurisprudence and scriptural justice. As the law and justice, though related, are not the same, my hunch is that he must. I also guess that he has discerned an unassailable bond between the law and justice and, thus, seeks to do just law.

Perchance one day, driven by more than mere curiosity, I may stop by and inquire.

© 2022 PRA

[1] Isaiah 43.2: When you pass through the waters, I, the Lord God, will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

[2] The fitting and fruitful application of which can be dictated by time and place, person and circumstance, and degrees of personal and financial resources.

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