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"That's All I Want"

Contemporary Justice and Child, Symeon Shimin, 1940

Great Hall, Dept. Of Justice, Washington DC

People hate this kind of talk.     Raw truth is never popular. But here it is, bluntly spoken:     Because you run roughshod over the poor     and take the bread right out of their mouths, You’re never going to move into     the luxury homes you have built. You’re never going to drink wine     from the expensive vineyards you’ve planted. I know precisely the extent of your violations,     the enormity of your sins. Appalling! You bully right-living people,     taking bribes right and left and kicking the poor when they’re down.

Justice is a lost cause. Evil is epidemic.     Decent people throw up their hands. Protest and rebuke are useless,     a waste of breath.

Seek good and not evil—     and live! You talk about God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,     being your best friend. Well, live like it,     and maybe it will happen.

Hate evil and love good,     then work it out in the public square. Maybe God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,     will notice your remnant and be gracious.

Now again, my Master’s Message, God, God-of-the-Angel-Armies:

“Go out into the streets and lament loudly!     Fill the malls and shops with cries of doom! Weep loudly, ‘Not me! Not us, Not now!’     Empty offices, stores, factories, workplaces. Enlist everyone in the general lament.     I want to hear it loud and clear when I make my visit.”

Woe to all of you who want God’s Judgment Day!     Why would you want to see God, want him to come? When God comes, it will be bad news before it’s good news,     the worst of times, not the best of times. Here’s what it’s like: A man runs from a lion     right into the jaws of a bear. A woman goes home after a hard day’s work     and is raped by a neighbor. At God’s coming we face hard reality, not fantasy—     a black cloud with no silver lining.

“I can’t stand your religious meetings.     I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions. I want nothing to do with your religion projects,     your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,     your public relations and image making. I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.     When was the last time you sang to me? Do you know what I want? I want justice—oceans of it. I want fairness—rivers of it.     That’s what I want. That’s all I want.”

Amos 5:10-24, The Message

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