April 22, 2021
But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
— Amos 5:24
One of Dr. King’s favorite scripture passages comes from the oldest of the Twelve Minor Prophets, Amos. In the context of the kingdom of Judah fully 700 years before Jesus walked this earth, Amos was a mouthpiece for Yahweh and a nuisance to people of power and privilege. Apparently people have never liked hearing hard truth.
The hard truth of Amos is that justice, or mishpat in Hebrew, has little to do with verdicts. A verdict, as important as it is, is a once-and-done proclamation of justice. But full justice is a fierce and ongoing commitment to righting wrongs, protecting the vulnerable, serving the underprivileged, and loving the last, the lost, the least, and the little. In this way, justice rolls down like waters of an ever-flowing stream — true justice never stops flowing.
Tuesday the eyes of the world were on our city, watching to see if justice would be done. And so far as three guilty verdicts are concerned we believe it was. But all the guilty verdicts in the world won’t return George Floyd to his family and friends, and so we hold them in our prayers. These three guilty verdicts are more about accountability, than justice. The only way true justice can be done for George Floyd, and countless other people of color who have had violence done unto them, is to make mishpat “roll down like water.”
Some have called for revolution. But revolution isn’t enough either. By its very definition a revolution only goes around one time, only to end up back where it started. What is needed is a movement — a movement that won’t stop until Minnesota is among the best states in which to live for all people — not just white people. A movement that won’t stop until Minnesota offers some of the best education in the country to all students — not just white students. A movement that won’t stop until all Minnesotans can rest assured that they and their families will be kept safe — not just white families.
“I don’t want your offerings,” the Lord says. “Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters…” Amos had strong words for any church or assembly that didn’t “do justice.” Since we quote those words from another Minor Prophet at the close of every worship, we do well to pay attention. God doesn’t just want us to do justice that rolls down like water, apparently God requires it.
Yesterday was just the first drop of water in what we pray will be an ever-flowing stream of true justice. May we as a church collectively, and each of us as individuals, do all we can to heed the words of Amos and follow the Way of Jesus.
May the peace that surpasses understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Nancy Benedict, Chair of the Board of Deacons
Amy Fulco, Vice-Chair of the Board of Deacons
Danielle Jones, Minister of Congregational Care and Mission
John Ross, Senior Minister
THE PASTORAL RESPONSE GROUP (PRG) is charged with responsibility for the spiritual health of the congregation. This group was conceived and requested by Senior Minister, John Ross, in 2017 in response to ongoing acts of violence and hatred striking the heart and soul of our nation. The purpose of this group (which may be convened by any member therein) is to discern what may need to be spoken to, or through, Wayzata Community Church in response to significant public events.