Advent devotion – December 5, 2009

Scripture: Amos 5:18–27

Standing at my office window, I was startled to see the early morning sky fill with roiling storm clouds. Within minutes, torrential rain mixed with hail pelted the glass. Soon a manhole cover on the street below exploded up into the air from the force of the water. In one hour and fifteen minutes, downtown Louisville received a record-breaking six and a half inches of rain. Streets were three feet under water, homes and businesses were flooded, and belongings were swept away in mere minutes.

Reading Amos 5:23–24, we may picture justice rolling down in lazy trickles like a small mountain stream. But the prophet had something else entirely in mind—more like the torrent that overwhelmed our city. Amos’s message is that justice will roll down with the force of violent floodwaters, engulfing everything in its path and sweeping away unjust systems and all who profit from them.

Not exactly the message we expect in this season of Advent! Yet Amos warns that all our lovely Advent rituals are for nothing unless they move us outward toward acts of compassion, peace, and justice. When the light of the Advent candles illuminates the wounds of the world, we can reach out to touch the wounded and work to heal broken systems.


We yearn, O God, for a time when justice covers the earth as the waters cover the sea. Make our time of waiting a time of working for shalom for all people. Amen.

Elder Martha Bettis Gee, associate for child advocacy and networking
Compassion, Peace and Justice
General Assembly Mission Council, PC(USA), Louisville, Kentucky

Order Proclaiming the Good News of God's Peace.

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