Friday, December 4, 2009

It is about Courage

Amos 5:1-17
v. 7 Ah, you that turn justice to wormwood, and bring righteousness to the ground!

The prophet Amos continues to warn Israel about the nature of its sins in our reading this morning. Again the key words are justice and righteousness. Israel's prosperity is built on the backs of the poor. A society has been created with haves and have nots, which is an affront to God. It is not the creation as God intended it.

I suppose there are many ways we can turn "justice to wormwood," and I have no doubt that we do it all the time. None of us is innocent in this regard and Advent is a time to examine ourselves, find ways we are doing this or participating in it, repent, and seek a new way of being.

There certainly was a fine example of turning justice to wormwood in the paper this morning (the Democrat & Chronicle). Denise-Marie Santiago reported on a conversation she had with Senator Jim Alesi on his vote against equal marriage. A YouTube video showed him voting with his head in his hands. He explained that the vote was purely about politics. "I live in a political world...It's not about courage."

Amos would disagree and be supported by every other Old Testament prophet, and Jesus himself. It is about courage. It's always about courage. No wonder our political system is in the state it is in when this is the defining purpose statement. It is, of course, naive to think it could never be about politics, and not all manifestations of politics are bad. But politics without courage equals wormwood. And for some of us the wormwood tastes pretty bitter this week.

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