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Big Fires Everywhere

The Israeli war with Hamas is the world news this week. To be clear, this attack was propagated by a terrorist organization. Evidence points to Iran’s fingerprints on the attack. Current wisdom points to Iran using Hamas to derail negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Israel to normalize relations. Of course the deal was being brokered by the US. In the meantime, it is easier to identify or try to identify places where there are no political fires burning than to name where they are. There are big fires everywhere. As with any fire, the danger is always whether two or more fires will burn together and create a conflagration.

The US is on fire as well. Take a quick tour of Washington, social media, “news” outlets, and the general dis-ease of the populous, and we face our own set of difficult circumstances. Unless we can deprive the fire of fuel, it will simply continue to burn, and it may well grow, especially as we enter what will be a very difficult election cycle next year.

How do we as Christians respond to all this? Strangely, I’m going to appeal to the Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) today. That may seem strange in that the OT seems to be mostly favored as a weapon to be used when bleating on about human sexuality.

Hear these words from the prophet Micah, “what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God (6:8)?” Notice, we are not called to love justice and do kindness. Rather, we are called to do justice and to love kindness. We are to be kind, yes, but we are called to engage in justice ministries. There can be no peace without justice. We are called to proclaim that and call out the places that have no justice.

The prophet Amos has a similar admonishment, “let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream (5:24).” Again, there is no peace without justice. Amos instructions go deeper than loving kindness, we are to promote righteousness, which is our being in synch with God’s desire for God’s creation.

Justice, righteousness, and kindness are the building blocks of a peaceful world. In middle America we pretend these fires either won’t reach us or are under control. Take a lesson from Lahaina, Maui. Big fires burn lots. Watch, pray, stick together, and speak the truth to power, whether at Captain “D’s,” Perkins, or the halls of congress.

Speaking of the Old Testament, Sunday we will visit Israel when the teacher (Moses) is out of the room. It doesn’t take long for things to get out of hand. Exodus 32 may teach us something about gods, God, and about how we relate to them.

See you Sunday,


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