The New Room is sharing a Friday reflection each week. We hope that these short reflections will act as a point of spiritual focus, enabling a moment of quiet thought and prayer.
This week’s Friday Reflection is from Tim Lansdown, a local preacher and volunteer at the New Room.
Amos 5: 18-25
This coming Sunday (8th) is Remembrance Sunday, the earliest date in November that we observe it. The purpose of Remembrance is twofold, to recall and give thanks for the sacrifice of those who fought and gave their lives in the cause freedom in the two world wars and many subsequent conflicts. And secondly to pray for the peace of the world.
But what do we mean when we use the word peace? It is not surprising that people yearn for peace. Our news is full of stories of wars across the world. Here at home our nation has been bitterly divided over Brexit and over the behaviour of certain people regarding Covid restrictions and many live within family homes where there is little feeling of peace.
For some the Covid lockdown has been a time of frustration but for others it has been a time of quiet reflection. With our churches closed, yes, I have missed the worship but I have been pleased to miss the responsibilities that I have as an office holder- the constant meetings and all the tasks that need fulfilling to run the church. Yes, it has been a time of what I might call peace but is that the peace of which the scriptures speak?
Amos was a countryman who travelled to the city of Bethel to sell his produce and was appalled by what he witnessed there. He found a deep rich/poor divide with the wealthy who were practicing their religious ceremonies, enjoying a style of fine living with no regard for the poor among them. Amos denounces them saying that their offerings at the alter are unacceptable to God who takes no pleasure in their worship (vv21-22). Instead he demands justice and paints the evocative picture of righteousness rolling downlike a mighty stream (v24). He rightly points out that there can be no real peace without justice.
There are many parts of our world where at present there is no fighting and we can thank God for that. But unless there is justice in the land there will be no true peace. So, we are called to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9) not just peace lovers which is by no means an easy task. People like Gandhi and Martin Luther King made enemies and were killed for their efforts to establish peace. Can we seek to bind peace and justice together in our community, our church and our home. For the Prince of Peace will surely bless us if, with God’s help we do.
We pray that the power of love will replace the love of power so that all may live without fear and know the blessings of your true peace. Amen.