I have spent the last four days in a cabin just feet above a rolling stream in the mountains of Colorado. The water is white capped as it rolls over the rocks that protrude up from the river bed. There is a roar that never stops. It’s not too loud, but it is not a babbling brook either. It has continued to incessantly roll, supplied by waters from further up the mountain.
The first several nights we slept with the windows closed, still hearing the roar of the river. We closed the windows mainly because of the roar of the river. The last several nights the windows have been opened and we’ve grown accustomed to the sound. It has struck me, however, that the sound of the rolling river has never stopped, never slowed, never gotten quiet and smooth. Since this sound has been somewhat foreign to me as I have never lived in a place like this, I have been aware every moment of this ever rolling stream.
Being at a cabin in the mountains of Colorado, time affords reflection and stillness of the mind. Time allows for creative moments of reading and writing, thinking and introspection. In the midst of these moments, the river has always called out, always made it’s close proximity known. It hasn’t been intrusive, only present at all times.
In the midst of these moments, I was drawn to Amos 5:24, “But let justice roll down like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.” Our world is in the deep throes of crying for justice, crying out for social reform and cultural awareness. We hear it from every newscast and from every blog dealing with political and cultural issues of our day. We are overwhelmed with the cries of injustice and for fairness in dealing with race and gender, politics and personal choice. Dr. Martin Luther King used this scripture as he cried for racial justice in the early 1960’s. But this scripture is more than just a battle cry for social reform. It is a cry for the kingdom of God to expand on this earth. It is a cry from Almighty God himself as he describes the Day of the Lord through his prophet Amos.
This cry is for personal righteousness, for the holiness of God and of his people. In the day of Amos, sacrifices and worship had no impact on God because the hearts of the people were not changed. Personal transformation had not happened, only an outward sense of obedience and ritual. They believed they could perform their rituals without a change in their hearts.
Things have not changed much since the day of Amos. We hear a lot these days about change, change that is coming, change that is promised from all sorts of avenues. But for true change to come to our land, to our world, it will not be mandated by government regulation, a new election, a change in leadership, nor the defeat of a particular religious body. It will only come through the personal transformation of people through the power of Jesus Christ. When true transformation happens, change will occur simply because we will be changed from the inside out.
As that happens, justice will not be something to just talk about, but it will be acted upon in our lives, our communities, our cities and our nation. Righteousness will flow like this never-failing stream that runs beside me. And it will be loud. It will make its presence known, rolling over the jagged rocks and making them smooth, filling up the crevices that have been empty. It will be a force that cannot be stopped, for it will be flowing from the throne of God himself.
I pray for that day to come soon.