sermonAmos 4:1; 5:11-15,21-22; 7:7-8

Before we  connect to last Sunday – I encourage everyone to be here this Sunday, to honor and support our youth as they head out for their Week of Hope…and honor our fathers in a unique way!

And God honors us by wanting to have conversations with us, on Sunday, Re: Justice and Righteousness – Justice: caring for the needy, poor, oppressed, the stranger in our land; righteousness: healing what is broken by treating all people with generosity and equity, so that all people are right with each other.

God uses Amos to let us know that He “despises” our worship, unless it results in going out to fulfill His commandment: “Let justice roll down like the waters [of Creation]; and righteousness like a never-ending steam!”

Amos urges us to let God “shake out” our sins of injustice and indifference – in order to experience His presence and feel His new-life coming alive in us – “Do you want God to be your best friend? Well live like it, and maybe it will  happen!”

Amos gives 3 Justice and Righteousness Conversation StartersThe 1st:  Do you grieve for the injustice and unrighteousness in our community? Amos proclaims, “Woe to you who are complacent, who do not grieve for my people!”

Justice is possible when we grieve for those who need justice, as a parent who believes their child is not being treated right. Do we grieve for the children, parents, families who face living conditions and barriers we would not tolerate for ourselves or our children?

If so, we are ready for Conversation Starter No. 2: Will we come together with a person to understand the injustice and unrighteousness they face? Amos affirms that all people are God’s people, our family. We must move from drive-by charity to day-to-day relationships; from hands up to hands together; from friendliness to friends.

This happened for Ron Hall (a multi-millionaire) and Denver Moore (a homeless man) who got to know each other through a homeless shelter – moving Ron to answer “yes” to Denver’s fishing metaphor question, “Are you going to catch and release me, or will you be a real friend forever?” Their friendship enables Ron to bring justice, give righteousness, for Denver, clearing his criminal record; developing his talent as an artist, offering a new vision of life.

Will you make a “real friend” commitment to be someone’s justice-rolling new life water, their righteousness-flowing healing stream…experiencing for yourself God’s presence in a deeper way…

This moves us to Conversation Starter No. 3: Will we take a stand for Justice and Righteousness? Amos says, “You must seek justice for the poor and oppressed, then God can become your best friend.”

This is Larry Dwyer standing up to the Section 8 housing providers to prepare and provide an apartment for Sakia Manning and her family, “I will be there every day until you do what you promised…!”

Gods concludes with His plumb line, to measure if we are “in line” with how He created us with His DNA of justice, righteousness, and love. God encourages us to have a conversation with Him and each other about how we are measuring up…if not, to get “in line” with His command to give justice and righteousness – and fully experience Him as our best friend!