Wow—who doesn’t love some Amos to start or end the day? He’s a fella with a harsh message focused around social justice. The rich are ignoring the poor and taking advantage of them. The courts are catering to the rich, taking bribes, and depriving the poor of justice. This could be taken from this morning’s headlines. And enveloping these injustices is the specter of conspicuous consumption. Amos is saying, “Israel is going to hell in a handbasket while you people sit in your ivory tower, eating and drinking and ordering exotic skin cream.”
Reading Amos’ prophetic takedown reminds me of a moment in a speech by Garrison Keillor: “My generation strikes me as self-absorbed. You hear them at the grocery store deliberating the balsamic vinegar and the olive oils….”
It’s easy to find ways to distract ourselves—especially with food and drink—rather than focus on the injustice around us. We casually walk by a homeless person to buy a $4 cup of coffee.
I suspect Amos didn’t have a lot of social interaction…or friends. Sitting next to him at a dinner party—besides the obvious irony—would probably not yield an evening of scintillating conversation. Amos reminds us, relentlessly, that we cannot forget the injustices of the most vulnerable, lest we find ourselves in exile. The gluttony of self-absorption is easy. But Amos says to his people, “Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts.” We should strive for no less.
What injustice will cross your path today and what step can you take to help counteract it?
God, let me see my world with new eyes that allow me to see and act on the injustices heaped on the most vulnerable around me. Amen.