We left off with where Amos’ audience was perhaps getting all fired up as they considered God’s judgment upon their neighbors, but then God’s word did not end there. God was including His people in this list, starting with the Israelites next door in the kingdom of Judah. Like the ancient Israelites, we in contemporary America are a people often blind to the planks in our own eyes, yet are keenly aware of the injustices of other peoples. Yet the Holy Spirit, the Hound of Heaven, woos us awake from our slumber.
N.T. Wright, a preeminent biblical scholar of our day, gave a talk one time about the “gods” we worship in western society. He made the point that we are up to nothing new, we just put a fresh face on the tired things of old. Vanity, Money, Ambition, War, these are still “worshiped” in their way, despite our reluctance to see it as such; still offered human sacrifices as people dedicate their lives to these destructive paths our society celebrates as virtues. But Wright went further–I feel into the prophetic–when he made the point that while the ancients such as the Greeks told stories illustrating the folly of these paths by tempering their tales with warning, our society has through clever marketing airbrushed out the dangers of laying our lives upon these idolatrous altars. As yesterday’s Rana Plaza video revealed, as we do some honest searching we inevitably unmask the realities of the human cost paid by chasing after these manicured dreams sold to us as “sanity.”
Richard Foster points out however that as Christians we must wake up to the reality that “conforming to a sick culture is to be sick.” We may not be directly responsible for these acts of injustice, yet our hands are not as clean as we might have previously believed.
- Read Amos 2:4-5, the judgement on the crimes of God’s people Judah.
- Read Deuteronomy 24:1-17, God’s command to deal justly with the vulnerable foreigners working and seeking refuge among God’s people.
Friday “Fool’s Challenge”
Go into a private room, Take off all of your clothing one piece at a time. As you take off each garment see if you can decipher from the tags what country produced it. Pray for the specific people and countries involved in producing the clothes you are wearing today. Ask that they would personally receive justice, fair wages, and equitable treatment. Ask for God to open your eyes to the connections between blind materialism and the suffering it produces in our globalized human community that Jesus came to redeem. #prayersfortextilesofjustice
In my case it went something like this, “El Salvador, may you experience God’s justice all the way down to the hands that wove this cloth….”
Feel free to post a photo like this in the comments or on the Facebook group Lenten Journey of Justice