Is it ever too broken to fix? In the case of an ornamental frog who lost a leg? No. In the case of a serving bowl dropped from the table? Yes. These judgments are easy to make. But, how about society? How about the covenant made with God?
This Sunday is “Peace with Justice Sunday,” observed in the UMC the Sunday after Pentecost. It is a day specifically tasked with asking the above questions. Our conversation partner for Sunday is the prophet Amos, who would answer the above questions, yes. As God is sovereign in the universe, the Hebrew prophets saw other nations as used by God for God’s purposes. For Amos, the ascendency of Assyria in the 8th C. BCE was such a case. Sargon II will be responsible for the fall of the northern kingdom and Samaria. Amos sees this destruction as punishment for the sad state of the covenant. In fact, Amos speaks mostly of judgment, an end to a way of life, if you will. Very little pertaining to God’s mercy is said.
According to Amos, God’s judgment centers around a lack of justice and righteousness. Religiosity has supplanted faith, according to Sunday’s text from the 5th chapter. This text on this Sunday calls us examine our own selves and systems, testing them to see if we value and practice justice.
To begin to get at this issue, we will need to redefine peace and justice. These are hard conversations to have, particularly in a culture where myth and denial are clearly at center stage. While I’m looking forward to our time together Sunday, it will be work and it probably will be uncomfortable. You will want to be with us for this discussion.
June 18 will begin an 8-week study of the Hebrew Scripture. We will use the excellent resource “Invitation to the Old Testament” as our text. Michel in the church office is able to order you a copy. Between the text, weekly video segments, and your pastor, we will endeavor to make the OT less opaque, which will make our reading of the New Testament much more fruitful. As it is a Disciple Bible Study issue, the goal is to make us all more faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.
I look forward to seeing you all Sunday as we worship, critique, and ultimately, come to the Lord’s Table.