Fes NC18: Mission 3
Transcendence: A talk by Rev. Dr Maggie Low lecturer at Trinity Theological College, on the book of Amos, expounding God’s perspective on sin and injustice, and our calling as Christians in society.
The preceding sessions in NC18 have exposed participants to the neglected realities of evil, brokenness, and injustice in society, and how the participants themselves, being a part of the system, are also to some degree complicit in this state of affairs. What does the book of Amos have to say to us today?
In Amos, a prophecy directed towards the nation of Israel, God begins by condemning Israel’s neighbouring countries for their evil and wrongdoing, finally culminating in a scathing indictment on Israel herself, when she least expects it. Israel’s wealth and prosperity parallel Singapore’s, and the words that God has for Israel sound true for us also. Amos is a condemnation against a culture where everyone wants to get ahead at any cost, and a challenge to both ancient Israelite and modern Singaporean spending habits.
Rev. Dr Low directed several questions toward us: Has our power or privilege caused us to lose our ability to empathise with others? How do we protect our minds and hearts from apathy and self-centeredness? Is our religiosity true and pleasing to God? Do we care for the ones that God cares about?
Amos depicts a funeral song for Israel: a church that doesn’t care is as good as dead. At the centre of the chiasm of the book of Amos is this declaration: to seek God is to seek good – this is true spirituality.
Amid the brokenness, evil, and injustice in the world, God the Creator sits in control over all creation, bringing judgment, righting wrongs. Only God has the power to change hearts. Inspired by stories and testimonies of those such as Dr Goh Wei Leong of HealthServe, Vishal Mangalwadi, Pastor Raymond Koh in Malaysia, and Wesley Hill, we were asked, “Will you choose God, or will you choose your own way?” We were called to live prophetically, to pray for others, preach the truth, and practice justice and righteousness. Our telling of the gospel to others must not only be by words but through our lives.
Written by Zephy Wong, FES staff worker for Perspective October/November 2018 (FES newsletter)