Stop and thank God for being present with you today. Ask for God’s guidance as you hear God’s voice through scripture and the writer.
Amos 5:18-27 (NRSV)
Alas for you who desire the day of the LORD!
Why do you want the day of the LORD?
It is darkness, not light;
as if someone fled from a lion,
and was met by a bear;
or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall,
and was bitten by a snake.
Is not the day of the LORD darkness, not light,
and gloom with no brightness in it?
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.
But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
Did you bring to me sacrifices and offerings the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? You shall take up Sakkuth your king, and Kaiwan your star-god, your images, which you made for yourselves; therefore I will take you into exile beyond Damascus, says the LORD, whose name is the God of hosts.
When I read this section from Amos 5, I immediately think of Fall Creek Falls State Park, with its tall, majestic waterfall and that beautiful pool beneath. It’s a splendid spectacle. “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.” I don’t know if Amos had a waterfall in mind when crafting these words, but he certainly knew of those canyons in his world that ran with water in the rainy season only to turn to dust in the summer. Justice and righteousness, to the contrary, were to be constant and pulsating with vigor and vitality.
Settled theological convictions and practices, like those held by Amos’ audience (e.g., “The day of the Lord”) and likely by many of us, can be comfortable and reassuring. Like old gloves and shoes, such convictions become familiar friends and we don’t want to alter or give them up. So, our settled theology can also become a barrier to what God is trying to accomplish. Rather than blocking the flow, this text invites us to plunge into the fresh water and become bearers of righteousness and justice to an arid world awaiting refreshing newness.
Remind us, God, of what you said to Moses so long ago: ’I will be who I will be.’ Keep us open to your stunning presence and set before us the path of righteousness and justice, then lead us on down the road. Amen.
Go with God.