A Just World for All

Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the music of your harps. But, let justice roll like the waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Like so many other significant passages, Amos gives us a glimpse into the character and nature of the God we first came to know in our liberation from slavery, and with whom we have been in covenant ever since.

This is a God who executes power and authority on behalf of the weak and the poor, the orphan and widow, the destitute, lonely, imprisoned, sick, vulnerable, and marginalized: or, as I used to say every Sunday in receiving our offering in my local church – those who suffer unjustly.

This should not surprise us at all. It is not just that this God created us; She created us in love. How can you watch your own children suffer and not feel deeply their pain? It is why after the command to love this God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength – the law is fulfilled then in loving your neighbor as yourself.

God’s love is known to us all; and we return that love by sharing it with those around us. No love can be real or legitimate that allows unjust suffering to continue.

And so it is that the United Church of Christ, having declared that its purpose is to love God and neighbor; having declared that its mission is to love unconditionally, to welcome and seek justice for all; believes that if its mission succeeds it will have built a just world for all.

This is a noble calling and a grand vision – to ask what a denomination called into being to love and invited to participate in the ushering of God’s Shalom looks like. Whether you call the United Church of Christ your home or not, I invite into prayerful contemplation of how it is you will help to make justice flow like the waters.

In your time of quiet prayer, listen for the cries.

Who is it whose cries touch your heart and cannot escape your attention?

Is it the children of Palestine who wake up every morning in an occupied territory?

Is it the children of Syria sleeping each night in a tent in a dessert far away from the home they knew, the friends they made, the schools they attended, the mosques they worshiped in?

Is it the tribes inhabiting the western plains who have been demonstrating for water rights not just for their people, but for all people?

Is it the child down your street who goes to bed hungry or walks winter streets without shoes?

Cries for justice go up every day in every neighborhood, village, town, and berg around the globe. Attune your ears to their cries and your hearts to their suffering. Become one whose hearing and heart inspire you to participate in establishing a just world for all.

And know that as you do so, you join a line of saints before you who have done likewise; whose humble acts of justice for the poor and the needy have inspired us and helped end suffering.

In this Advent season, where hope and joy await – feel the power of love offered by the generous heart of God. And know that with every breath and step you take, you participate in the shaping of a world others will come to know and experience. Let that be a world where justice flows like waters. Let there be peace on Earth as we make our way Into the Mystic.