A truly progressive society is one that is able to feel the wounds and pain of the most marginalized and excluded. Such a society’s task, consequently, is to heal and anoint the wounded. Perhaps, that task is better undertaken by embracing the work of mourning.
There is more to the ‘fruit’ image than a mere word play, for a basket of summer fruit is itself a potent symbol with political-theological connotations. This text about the vision of ‘a basket of summer fruit’ is a vision of contestation for the cause of justice.
The God we meet in Amos and John demands righteousness, solidarity and justice as the foundations of faithful living. Neutrality scuppers justice. When we drift away from God, our fellow human beings and the life-giving environment, prophetic truth-telling tempered with an imagination for a different world becomes a necessity.
“But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream” (Amos 5:24)
We must learn to subvert the economic model of our rulers by reconnecting with older models based on reciprocity, hospitality, and love.
Just as asylum seekers fill US migrant detention centers, so too this week’s lectionary readings address social injustices faced by the stranger and the poor. Both readings present consequences for those who fail to extend hospitality to the vulnerable other.
In evil days, justice can be stifled and the voice of the prudent can be silenced.
The Prophet Amos employs the plumb line as a powerful metaphor for justice in society.
One of the reasons why Amos made people squirm in his day and why Belhar irritates us in our own is because those of us used to being in charge have little practice in and less patience for listening to people whom we deem to be our inferiors.