An especially effective place of service may be at the polls and in letters to your leaders. Think of such acts as your way of kneeling before the powerless and the estranged and washing their feet. When you work to provide the poor with housing, the unemployed with jobs, the hungry with food, the sick with medical care, you are serving me. My kingdom breaks in through personal service and political action. Do not separate these forms of service, nor rate one above the other. My kingdom requires both.
– Ben Johnson, I Stand at the Door, CTS Press, 1986, 12.
11 Truly, because you crush the weak,
and because you tax their grain,
you have built houses of carved stone,
but you won’t live in them;
you have planted pleasant vineyards,
but you won’t drink their wine.
12 I know how many are your crimes,
and how numerous are your sins—
afflicting the righteous,
taking money on the side,
turning away the poor
who seek help.
13 Therefore, the one who is wise
will keep silent in that time;
it is an evil time.
14 Seek good and not evil,
that you may live;
and so the LORD,
the God of heavenly forces,
will be with you just as you have said.
15 Hate evil, love good,
and establish justice at the city gate.
Perhaps the LORD God of heavenly forces
will be gracious
to what is left of Joseph.
21 I hate, I reject your festivals;Amos 5:11-15, 21-24
I don’t enjoy your joyous assemblies.
22 If you bring me your entirely burned offerings and gifts of food—
I won’t be pleased;
I won’t even look at your offerings
of well-fed animals.
23 Take away the noise of your songs;
I won’t listen to the melody
of your harps.
24 But let justice roll down like waters,
like an ever-flowing stream.
In the book of Amos, God makes it clear that for our worship to be faithful it must spring from a life of integrity, and that part of faithful living includes seeking justice for the powerless and estranged. Compared to when Johnson first penned his words in 1986, our political system is more divided and the American people are more cynical when it comes to it. Yet, Johnson reminds us here that being active citizens is an important part of our walk with Christ, who was an active voice and force in the systems of his time. How do you engage civically in your day to day life? Who are the vulnerable and powerless in your community at whose feet Christ might be inviting you to kneel?
You look at our divided country
and grieve our inability to see the gifts in our different point of views,
the possibility of real and positive change,
if we worked together for good,
instead of tearing each other apart in evil ways.
Help me to have hope.
Guard me against apathy.
Help me to recognize that even in these challenging times,
there is a role for me to play.
Show me the way Lord,
as I seek your Kingdom come, in the here and now.