I recently was reading a website/blog entitled “Peace Theology- Engaging faith and pacifism” by Ted Grimsrud. He was speaking of justice and Jesus and pulled out one of the most infamous passages of the Prophets—Amos 5:24- “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” His commentary on this passage is vital to understanding the context that people, such as Martin Luther King, Jr, used to enact justice during the Civil Rights movement. He states,
When we understand justice in the Old Testament in line with Amos’s message, we may easily see how Jesus’ ministry echoed what Amos meant when he equates justice with life-sustaining water in the desert.
Amos’ words about justice spoke to Israel’s failure to embody Torah’s concerns for the wellbeing of all people in Israel. Amos calls for turning back to Torah and away from the injustices that favored the wealthy power elite over the vulnerable poor. This turning back involved a recovery of genuine justice as the community stands for life for everyone. The call to justice went out as a call to avoid judgment; justice was not the judgment but the way to avoid it.
“Justice was not the judgment but the way to avoid it.” That line is powerful in that justice was the righting of a system that favored unfairly a select few at the expense of the many. Corruption has wormed its way into every system and the challenge of injustice is that those that are on the receiving end never hold the power or ability to enact justice. It is often through prophets, and movements that shake the status quo from its foundations that we dare to imagine a more holy way of being. The great challenge for each person is to see if they are perpetuating injustice through choices, lifestyle or unconscious prejudices. It is only through faithful living that we can dare to ask such questions and expect a transformation of soul and spirit!