Midweek Musing 11-8-q023
Amos 5:18-24 NRSV
The Day of the Lord a Dark Day
Woe to 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 water
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
Sometimes answers we give to questions posed to us are vague and indirect. However, sometimes the answers we give leave no room for interpretation.
For example, most of you know that I love Diet Coke. It may or may not be an unhealthy obsession, but I guess I could do worse than drinking Diet Coke way, way too often.
Now regarding Diet Coke, I must admit I am a little bit of a snob. I like Diet Coke! I do not like diet Pepsi or Diet Rite or even Coke Zero. It's that simple. I like Diet Coke and nothing else will substitute for it.
Once I was at a restaurant where I ordered a Diet Coke, and they asked if a Diet Pepsi would do - to which I responded sure as long as I can pay with Monopoly money. For me my answer is direct give me Diet Coke or bring me a glass of water or nothing at all.
And in the scripture passage from Amos that began this musing, we see that God is equally clear about those things which are most important to God. In fact, God is rather harsh in his words that are spoken through the prophet Amos. God declares quite succinctly that he has no interest in elaborate festivals or grand parties or pomp and circumstance, unless there is true justice that accompanies these things. For the prophet Amos speaks for God, and it is clear that God does not have time for empty words and empty rhetoric. God is clear that his desire is for righteousness to roll like the waters and justice flow down like an ever-mighty stream.
For many of us these words while poetic, are also hard to understand. The truth is few of us have experienced the type of oppression that many of our minority and marginalized communities have suffered. Instead, we need to listen to those communities who are experiencing injustice, those who know discrimination and exclusion. And then we are to work with and for these groups so that they might fully experience life and life everlasting, not just in the promised day to come, but in the very here and now.
This is not easy work and often we will experience failures and fall short. But nowhere in scripture does God require us to be successful. Instead, we are required to be faithful. Being faithful means being willing to risk, to step out and up for others, and as I now so often say do the good that is ours to do even if that work is hard and unpopular.
Friends, the truth is that God is not concerned about empty words or promises. God is not impressed with elaborate ceremonies. God isn't worried about what you wear. God is concerned that we live faithfully, stepping out to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God, both this day and forevermore. Oh, may we as a church and as those who make up the church seek to do this each and every day of our life.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Alleluia Amen!