January 21, 2020
Scripture: Amos 5:21-24
I hate, I reject your festivals; I don’t enjoy your joyous assemblies. If you bring me your entirely burned offerings and gifts of food— I won’t be pleased; I won’t even look at your offerings of well-fed animals. Take away the noise of your songs; I won’t listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
Thought for the Day: One of my favorite songs in our denominational hymnal is: I Am the Light of the World! by Jim Strathdee. It is a song he wrote based upon the words of a poem written by Howard Thurman. It is a post-Christmas poem/song, yet its meaning and message are pertinent year around. The first verse is:
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the magi and Shepard’s
Have found their way home,
The work of Christmas is begun:
I think of this today, the day after we honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is one thing to celebrate, and it is another to get to work. Too many of us (and I emphasize ‘us’ to include me) really enjoy the celebrations, and who doesn’t! It is good to celebrate, but celebrations don’t actually accomplish much at all. I love Christmas, and I am not going to give it up. But the question must always exist, whether it is Christmas or Easter or Dr. King’s holiday, what will I do tomorrow that actually acknowledges the fact that I celebrated today? How might my life and witness look different? As a white, middle-class, straight, church-going male, my life is really quite privileged. Even if I try, I am incapable of recognizing everything that has been handed to me with absolutely no sweat from my brow. I can simply enjoy all the benefits of my position, or I can celebrate with my sisters and brothers who historically know absolutely no societal benefit and then follow their lead in the hard work of equality and justice. Too often we like to echo Dr. King who said, “I have a dream,” yet the real work is far beyond a reposting of a quote. I ask the question: What must I do? Even more so, because of my place of privilege, what responsibility do I have in seeing that dream to fruition?
Prayer: You give me reason to celebrate, O Gracious and Loving God, but I do not believe you wish for me to bounce from celebration to celebration to celebration. Call me into the weeds where work is required and hands get dirty. Push me beyond what I have declared as my comfort zone, and into those areas that cause you to weep. I do like the celebrations, but the gifts you have given me are best utilized beyond the celebrations. Amen.
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