“I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:21-24)

Yahweh and Amos uttered a funeral elegy to mark the death of Israel. The elegy described the tragedy that would soon befall the people as contrasted with their present life of ease. One of their specific covenant violations was their misuse of the legal system that had sprung up around the Mosaic law which exploited and defrauded the poor and needy. The leaders of the people took bribes and showed favoritism that deprived many of justice. They engaged in lying, cheating and theft of property. Amos let them know quite openly that they did not know God or appreciate His power. He called on them to seek justice and mercy for the poor or face the consequences.

These words of Amos serve to remind all Christians that the Lord desires we promote social justice for those who are oppressed and cannot defend themselves. This includes advocating for the rights of the unborn. It also means that we seek racial and ethnic harmony. It means extending hospitality and grace toward the aliens among us (legal or undocumented) most of whom came to America seeking the benefits and advantages that many of us take for granted as basic rights.

We are to treat all human beings with fairness and equity. After all, the Lord works through His church to grant equality, acceptance and respect for all human beings regardless of race, gender or ethnic origin. This is accomplished through faith and faith comes by hearing the word of the gospel. That word is communicated by the acts and words of the people of God.