darkness

Today’s Word: Amos 5:18-27

Every Advent, we meet the words of the prophets, even as we are anticipating and already singing the words of angels.

18 Alas for you who desire the day of the Lord!
   Why do you want the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, not light; 
19   as if someone fled from a lion,
   and was met by a bear;
or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall,
   and was bitten by a snake. 

I do wish that while I was at the Pine Knoll Shores aquarium yesterday, I had taken a photo of the corn snakes. Because as I was admiring (because it was behind glass and sleeping) the ghost corn snake, and marking the movements of the coral corn snake coiling itself on a ledge, someone came along and pointed out the small, white corn snake my eyes had not recognized at all in the bottom of the enclosure. Because the prophet speaks truth–you don’t always know you’re stepping near or putting your hand too close to a snake.

Amos prophesied to people who were walking in a darkness they had perpetuated on their own–by oppressing the poor and believing they were justified because they made a show of practicing their traditions. And he promised more of the same for those who refused to admit their wrong-doing, or were saying one thing with their music and observances, but then neglecting the call of God on their whole lives.

21 I hate, I despise your festivals,
   and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. 
22 Even though you offer me your burnt-offerings and grain-offerings,
   I will not accept them;
and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals
   I will not look upon. 
23 Take away from me the noise of your songs;
   I will not listen to the melody of your harps. 

The potential for walking in the Light of the Lord was always there. The justice and righteousness of God mean being honest about where we are and what we are doing that does not demonstrate love for God or neighbor, but God’s justice will illuminate and re-order the chaos quickly.

24 But let justice roll down like waters,
   and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. 

Amos and I are mixing metaphors all over the place this morning. Illuminate the darkness by letting the water run! Here’s a photo of the moon jellies at the aquarium that has a dark environment, God-given light, and flowing water–you know, to help us tie it all together.

Wrestling with the words of prophets is one of my least most favorite things about Advent.

On this Saturday, may you shine the light God has placed inside of you and turn on the faucet of God’s justice.