Our pastor chose to preach on the Amos text (8: 4-7), and I was glad he did. Our pastor is never finer than when he tackles issues of poverty and injustice. But I admit that I'm biased.
The strong message of the prophet still resonates, with its condemnation of those who trample on the needy and poor, those who are "buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat" (verse 6). I felt those prickles of discomfort; am I that rich person?
I certainly don't give away as much as I should. I haven't done as much as I could to give the poor an equal chance. I do much in the way of charity, but not as much in the way of justice, those practices that would make sure that everyone has enough. In my younger years, I did more. I need to meet that 19 year old Kristin again. If nothing else, I could write more letters to my legislators, those people who do have the power to affect the power structures (or does that just show how naive I am?).
Our pastor reminded us that as Christians, we are the voice of the prophet. And my, how our voices are needed in this current day of increasing poverty and increasing stratification.
Our pastor closed by reminding us that what caused the downfall of Israel was not idolatry of stone but idolatry of gold. We live in a society that worships wealth. I'd dare say that we idolize gold in more ways than ancient Israel could ever dream of.
Christ came to earth determined to live the prophecy of Isaiah (Luke 4: 18-22, which references Isaiah 61:1-1):
"'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’"
We should follow that model.
feeling the feelings…
5 months ago