Justice

Jon Brown

READ : Amos 5

But let justice roll down like the waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing

stream. (v. 24 NRSV)

The fourth article of the Belhar Confession addresses God’s heart for justice. In this
article, the fifth chapter of Amos is cited as evidence for God’s concern about equality
and fairness in society, especially societies that claim in some sense to be Christian.
Amos 5 is full of indictments against the people of God for the inconsistencies of their
lives. They sing songs of praise (v. 23) and at the same time trample on the poor (v. 11).
They offer to God burnt offerings and grain offerings (v. 22), but push aside the needy in
the gate (v. 12). Such inconsistency infuriates the God of justice.

The church does many important things. It encourages righteousness, fosters holiness,
and teaches faithfulness. The church prays prayers of confession and walks with people who
seek repentance. The church gathers to sing hymns of praise and administer the sacraments
and receive the offerings of the people. However, doing all of these important things does
not give a church or an individual the permission to neglect social justice. The Belhar
Confession states that, “We believe that God has revealed himself as the one who wishes to
bring about justice.” The God who wishes to bring about justice requires it from us
too.

PRAYER

Father, as Amos declares, so we pray, “Let justice roll down like the waters.” Amen.