Amos

Take away from me the noise of your songs;
    I will not listen to the melody of your harps.
But let justice roll down like waters,
    and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
(Amos 5.23-24)

Amos is the best example of a biblical prophet speaking to religious leaders. Jesus continued this tradition. Jesus’ harshest criticisms were directed toward the religious leaders of his day. I lived with this awareness during my active duty years and it remains part of my consciousness.

Amos, a shepherd and grower of sycamore trees from Judah, traveled north to Israel to challenge injustices by King Jeroboam II (786-746 BC). He was an “outside agitator.” At the king’s residence he met the priest Amaziah, whose job partly was to keep troublemakers from getting in the king’s presence.

The Civil Rights movement was made possible by the biblical prophetic tradition. The African-American church understood the biblical prophets because often prophets like Amos spoke for those without voice.

Bryan Stephenson, a prophetic voice in Alabama, is Executive Director of Montgomery’s Equal Justice Initiative and author of Just Mercy, upon which the upcoming movie is based. A Margaret Hoover Firing Line interview with Bryan was aired on Friday, December 27th.

“Who do You Think You Are?”
Francis X. Clooney, Harvard University

Tomorrow: Jeremiah.

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