Amos 5:21-24

Monday, June 8, 2020

Amos 5:21-24
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.

I want to spend time this week looking at scripture that have been used by those who have fought for justice since these verses were written.

Today’s verse is from a book we don’t read very often – the prophet Amos. These verses are familiar because we sing them often. But here’s some background.

Amos, a shepherd from a small town in the Northern kingdom of Israel, was called by God to speak truth to the religious and political leaders of the day. Remember, being a prophet does not mean that you know the future. It does mean that you are called to speak God’s truth. Amos was called to speak at a time when the kingdom of Israel was doing very well – they were gaining land and wealth from neighbors, but they had forgotten who they were.
They forgot the heart of God. Justice – not false piety.
Mercy – not empty offerings.
Righteousness – not loud singing.

I love this verse because it just nails us right where we are at. In fact, if we don’t see ourselves in these verses, perhaps we need to read them again! These verses remind us that all of these things we do that we think please God are not important.

How we worship – not important. Where we worship – not important. What media we use – not important.

Do we show that we love God in our worship, however we do that – that’s important!

Do we love our neighbor – THAT’s important!

So, if loving our neighbor means keeping them safe by staying in place and continuing to worshiping in that is what we will do.

If loving our neighbor means we must speak out against racism and white supremacy – that that is what we will do.

There will be people who will be upset. That’s ok. They were upset when Amos first spoke these words. Amos didn’t speak them to gain their favor – neither do we.

People – God is doing a new thing in the world right now. Keep your eyes out for the amazing places you will see God’s love and justice pop up. Keep your eyes and ears open to hear from some of the unlikely prophets in our day – it may even be you!

And now, filled with God’s Holy Spirit, may you go out to speak the truth of God’s love for ALL people. Amen