Amos – prophet with a punch! (@JHosborn)

 

“I can’t stand your religious meetings.
I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals.
I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making.
I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
That’s what I want. That’s all I want.

Amos 5 v 21-24

Amos packs a real punch! On a weekend when I am attending one of my new favourite conferences this is quite a difficult verse to read. Have we (I) lost our (my) way? Are we more interested in getting together with other believers than we are about justice and fairness?

I remember my Mum telling me and my sister ‘Life’s not fair, get used to it’ and have occasionally used the phrase myself with my own children. And on one level she’s right: there are things about life that are just not fair and being able to acknowledge that and move on is a life skill. However, in the light of this passage I wonder whether this phrase is a good one to use. Maybe we ought to find other ways to help children cope with perceived unfair stuff happening to them, and pointing out the difference between that and the genuine injustices of this world which affect so very many people.

My sister and I are very different characters: I’m an ‘acceptor’, I tend to accept what I hear/see without really questioning. My sister on the other hand is more of a questioner: why is life unfair? Why can’t this* happen now/when I want it to? Why are there people in the world who don’t have enough to eat/clean water to drink/their freedom? (*insert any event which may cause frustration!)

Perhaps my sister and I are two sides of the same coin. Although I buy fair-trade, sign online petitions and regularly pray for injustice/unfair situations around the world I’m aware that really I begin from a stance of acceptance. My sister might do similar things (I’ll have to ask her now won’t I!), but her starting point is one of frustration. Here’s the thing: my sister isn’t a believer. She doesn’t do religious gatherings, conferences or conventions in the name of Jesus. I am, and I do. Er, ahem… #awkward

Micah6V8 by David Drury

Micah6V8 by David Drury

It’s an easy get out to say: well we just need to be better at this. Duh! There are countless other places in the Bible where very similar things are said: Micah 6v8, and the whole of Isaiah 58 for a start. Every Christian needs to wake up to this a bit more. One thing that really caught my attention at the conference (yes I did go!) this weekend was this phrase: don’t dream big, dream differently. Maybe God doesn’t call us to dream big, maybe we should be dreaming differently: starting with where we are actually at instead of making the same radical pledge that has failed before, claiming that this time it’ll be different; maybe God wants us to make the small changes which all add up to a life changed; maybe there’s a small thing that me & you, my Facebook friends/Twitter followers/neighbours/work colleagues & yours can do that will eventually see an ocean of justice and rivers of righteousness.

 

What do you think that might be?

About Jenni Osborn