Monday, November 6, 2017

Looking Ahead to November 12, 2017 -- Justice that Flows Like Water

The Scripture reading this week is Amos 5:1-15, 21-24.

The Sermon title is Flood time?

Early Thoughts: Sometimes we need a good strong washing to allow for new growth to follow. Sometimes we feel like we are in a drought, and are crying out for that flow of water.

It seems a little strange to say, but I have always liked Amos. Not that taking the words of Amos seriously is a cause for comfort -- just the opposite in fact. But something about Amos has always struck me as special. I  think it is his passion for justice, his passionate denunciation of the world in which he finds himself that attracts me so much.

At the same time I think we could use some more Amos in the world today. I think many of his complaints are just as viable in 2017 as the were in the time of Kings Jeroboam and Uzziah.

We live in a world where people are shot in a plaza in Las Vegas while attending a concert, where a vehicle mows down people on a walking path in New York, where others are shot while attending worship in Texas. We live in a world where some live high on the hog while others are barely paid a living wage and others sleep in shelters or in doorways. Are thoughts and prayers the only things we can offer?

Don't get me wrong, thoughts and prayers are important. But if we stop there are we showing that we love the good and hate the evil as Amos exhorts? Or are we setting ourselves up for his next words "I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps"

What might it look like if justice came down like waters? What would it mean if the everflowing stream of righteousness flowed through and nourished  our culture?

I see two image of water in those words. The first is the flood. Th rush of water that washes away many things. What might the flood of Justice wash away -- no matter how tightly we want to hold on? The other image is the constant steady flow of water that gives life. As people of faith we proclaim that Righteousness is a mainstay of God's kingdom. How do we feed and nourish those signs of righteousness, of justice, of peace so that the Kingdom will continue to grow in our hearts and in our world?

Takes more than thoughts and prayers.

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