Janice Kristanti Convivium Reflection

Janice Kristanti reflects on Amos at Convivium on November 14th, 2019

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November 14, 2019

Today, we hear Amos’ challenging question and statement: “What will the day of the Lord mean for you? It will be darkness, not light!”

The text seems paradoxical and might ring a bell to our ear as sarcastic and judgmental. The words capture the dark and terror of the last judgment, where all of us and those before us will stand before God.

Some biblical scholars noted that Amos prophecied the apocalyptic nature of the day of the Lord, correcting Israel’s false expectation of the last day as “a rejoicing event,” or in our modern language “happily-ever-after event.”

I think the analogy of graduate school final exam (which is coming in three weeks from today) fits the message because the image of pulling all-nighters is quite apocalyptic. Studying for the exams, rehearsing music, grading, or writing for a research paper sometimes feels like terror and walking into a long winter night. But those things may train us to be realistic (and strategic) about our goals.

"As if someone fled from a lion and a bear met him.”

Amos’ message about the day of the Lord is not a mere prophecy but also textually is a warning to Israel. Amos reminded Israelites about the consequences of their great transgression of breaking the covenant with the Lord God, worshipping idols, and oppressing the weak.

“Truly, the day of the Lord will be darkness, not light, gloom without any brightness!”

Perhaps the text is not the most hopeful for us Christian gathering here today. We think about our unanswered prayers, unfulfilled dreams, our struggles, the ongoing hate speech concerning the church and politics, unresolved justice issues throughout the nation and world. Perhaps all of us want to as the question instead:

How long o Lord do we have to be in the dark? How long o Lord that we may see the light of your face?

However, if we look closely at the greater Amos account, we see that the prophet invites us to walk in the light of our faith. While lamenting the sins of Israel, earlier in the text, Amos also proclaimed:

“Seek good and not evil, that you may live; and so the LORD, the God of hosts, will be with you. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

That is the heart of Amos’ prophecy: that we may seek good, establish justice so that we will be made righteous like an ever-flowing stream, and at last live in and with God.

There are dark and difficult moments in our lives today. Yet, they are part of our lives. Instead of falling into pessimism, prophet Amos reminded us that to not let our sins, brokenness, past mistakes, or limitations hinder us from saying “yes” to what is good and true.

There are dark and difficult moments in our lives today, and they remind us of Jesus Christ, a person who also had difficult moments in his life, did struggle and suffered till death on the Cross.

Yet Jesus rose on the third day! Jesus Christ rose from death gloriously, and by his death and resurrection, we are reminded that the same God, God of life, hope and mercy is always up to radical transformation. God is always transforming something in us into something new and beautiful.

As we-the pilgrim church- journey toward the Kingdom by seeking good, and establishing justice, may God’s grace lift our heart, soul, and mind over and over again to God’s all-consuming love.

What will the day of the Lord mean for you?

This is what it means for us by remaining in God’s love, and we’ll see God, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit face to face on the day of the Lord. We see the light and are made righteous. As in the words of St. Ireneaus, “The glory of God is the human person fully alive.” Amen.