Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving musings

But let justice flow like water, and righteousness like an unfailing stream."  -- Amos 5:24

On this Thanksgiving Eve, when so many families are in the midst of their remnants returning home, when feasts and gratitude flow for what abundance is present in our lives, let us take a few moments to pause...  Pause to reflect on two weightier words: justice and righteousness.

The Prophet Amos has just proclaimed pointedly how God no longer enjoys or takes notice of our feasts, solemn assemblies, and offerings.  Yet we are here: heaping tables with each one's favorite food, some gathering for a worship service at their church, and most offering an extra measure of bounty to the homeless via a donation or serving at a community meal for the marginalized.  And yet, in light of injustice and lack of real righteousness, these symbols mean nothing.

If we take a timeout from our privileged places, and solemnly look around our world we see so much to be sad about, so much unfairness...  From Tennessee and the children killed by a reckless bus driver to the last hospital bombed out of existence in Aleppo Syria to the bedside of a dearly beloved's dying -- and so much hunger, 795 million in a world producing 1.5x what everyone in the whole world needs.  Where is the justice?  How do we find any sense of righteousness?  

The answer does not rest in feeling guilty or even repenting.  It doesn't come from donating more, or working harder.  Justice and righteousness are not rooted in any works that we can perform.  They are rooted in one's true heart and in faith in One greater and more capable than any.  One who "exceeds anything we can ask or think."  

When hearts are rooted in the heart and soul of Jesus, His mercy flows into life bringing the deepest possible sense of gratitude.  Out of that flows a true discipleship, which writes into our agenda the meaningful ways to reach out in service to Him and the world's need.  As Jesus blessed the loaves and fishes, so He blesses our service and labors for the Kingdom of God.  Pursuing that heart flow, grounded in Christ, brings justice and righteousness to our lives and that of the whole world.


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