Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday in Advent 2

Amos 9:1-10
v. 8 The eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the face of the earth--except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, says the Lord.

A characteristic of the prophets of Israel is that no matter how thoroughly they condemn the people, God's mercy always leaves an out. I will destroy it--except that I will not.

One of the things we celebrate at Christmas is the permanent, "once for all," out we have been given in Jesus. This came about through his taking on human flesh, living our human life, and dying our human death. We must never forget how costly this was (and is) to God. All the wrath spoken of by the prophets built up by the accumulation of human sin had to be set aside, and not one time but for ever. God had to choose not to be an angry God. When we are rightfully angry, it is hard to let go of it, especially when the one we are angry at shows no sign of turning. Yet God's doing this precise thing is what we celebrate at Christmas. God chose peace over anger: "Glory to God in the highest and peace to God's people on earth."

Amos has not been an easy read, but he has put before us the centrality of justice, especially economic justice, especially in a time of prosperity. That alone makes him an important voice for us today.

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