Based on Based on Amos 5:18-24
I’m writing this meditation a week or so after The Reverends Jim Wallis of the Christian justice group Sojourners, Barbara Williams-Skinner of the National African American Clergy Network and other clergy were arrested for praying and reading Scripture in the U.S. Senate office building in Washington, DC. They spoke faith-based truth to GOP Senators pushing through unjust and amoral tax legislation that will benefit the wealthy and harm middle class families and those in need.
They were soon released, but they walked in spirit in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the many others who were arrested, beaten and brutalized during the civil rights struggle of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Some “evangelical Christians” would no doubt criticize their civil disobedience, but they practiced what a spiritual of my faith tradition calls “good religion.”
“Good religion” is not linking religiosity exclusively to any political party or supporting mean spirited, self-serving politicians because even though they say and do immoral things, they support your political agenda or your political party. “Good religion” is not embracing a “pie in the sky” religious message that elevates personal prosperity while ignoring the authentic mandates of the Gospel.
“Good religion” means following Amos’ prophetic admonition to let justice and righteousness flow freely, following James’ apostolic admonition to see to the well-being and fair treatment of those in need and following Jesus’ teaching that we’ll ultimately be judged by what we do for those that He called “the least of these.”
Take the time, in Advent season 2017, to prayerfully examine yourself to see if you practice the “good religion” epitomized by the baby born in Bethlehem that the Gospel writer John called “The Word of God made flesh.”
See that your faith is not just a matter of Sabbath worship, but of daily service to others; not just Sunday morning “Holy Ghost aerobics,” but an exercise in standing up for truth and justice; not just a celebration of your “holiness,” but a life filled with love that advocates for those oppressed and cast aside by some who claim to be “Christians” but who don’t practice what they preach.
You may not be praised and you might be criticized, ridiculed, threatened and “trolled” by some very strict, “holy” folks – l ike the ones who orchestrated the murder of Jesus – but you can be assured that God will bless you beyond measure, stand by you in your challenging times, be there to help you bear your burdens and give you what it takes to say with the words of a beloved hymn: “May the work I’ve done speak for me.”