Friday Reflection

13th November 2020

'we hear words we like...'

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

..... Amos 5:24

Sometimes we hear words we like,
and sometimes, not so much.
A couple of weeks ago our hearts sank
when we heard,
'There is to be another lock-down
starting next Thursday.'
but were lifted
with the announcement
that a vaccine for Covid
could be available
for some by Christmas.

When we were young,
if our parents asked,
"Shall we go and get an ice cream?"
we would be very happy.
On the other hand,
when our parents said,
"No. you cannot go
to the disco on Friday night."
we were not be so pleased.

If a conversation
is agreeable to hear,
agreeing with our thoughts
and benefiting us,
we define those words as pleasing.

However sometimes we must
tolerate words that are
more beneficial to others
than ourselves,
words that God speaks for
those who need a voice.

We may not like the
conversation but if we want
to grow in the love of Jesus,
it is helpful to hear both words
like honey and the bitter ones.

Many of the prophets had some
bitter things to say,
applicable not only to
the people of their era
but also for today.

Amos told the people
to hate evil,
to love good,
and to establish justice.
Do we need to hear
this message
in our day and time?

Do we go to church on Sunday
(when they are open!),
sing praise songs
and hymns with gusto,
give our tithes?

Do we fulfil all
ceremonial liturgies,
recite the scriptures
with pride,
and pray with eloquence
so that others can hear?
In Amos 5:21-23,
God says

21 "I hate,
   I despise your religious festivals;
   your assemblies are a stench to me.
22 Even though you bring me burnt
   offerings and grain offerings,
   I will not accept them.
   Though you bring choice
   fellowship offerings,
   I will have no regard for them.
23 Away with the noise
   of your songs!
   I will not listen to
   the music of your harps.'

Christian life should be lived
on a day-to-day basis,
it is not just for Sundays.

If we step out of the church doors
to be judgemental, cruel,
unloving and unforgiving
from Monday to Saturday,
if we are not compassionate,
God will probably have
some harsh words for us,
his Holy Spirit
will stir our conscience.

We may sometimes feel
as if God is on our case,
speaking only harsh words.
However, God reminds us
of his unfailing love.

8 "Oh, how can I give you up,
   my Ephraim?
   How can I let you go?
   How can I forsake you like
   Admah and Zeboiim?
   My heart cries out within me;
   how I long to help you!
9 No, I will not punish you
   as much as my fierce anger
   tells me to.
   This is the last time
   I will destroy Ephraim.
   For I am God and not man;
   I am the Holy One
   living among you,
   and I did not come
   to destroy

(Hosea 11:8-9)

In God's perfect love
we can feel securely loved,
supremely loved,
and especially loved individually,
no matter what we do.

because of his love for us,
we should patiently accept
words that may disturb us.

Like a good Father,
he knows what we need to hear,
so when a friend says
harsh words to us,
instead of feeling hurt
and retaliating,
stop and think,
'Is this from God?'

God accepts us
with all our faults
and flaws;
but he loves us
too much to allow us
to stay that way.

When Jesus left earth
and ascended into heaven,
he left with us his Holy Spirit,
bringing with him
his fruits of love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness,
gentleness, faithfulness,
& self-control.

When you read this
does it make you throw up
your hands in horror thinking,
'that's all very well
but I could never attain
to such heights of virtue.'?

No, we cannot do it alone,
we do not have to;
these virtues come from
a life lived with God.
We can prune and fertilize,
but God is the one
that does the work
of true heart-change.

We can trust him,
work with him,
and thank him
that he never gives up on us.