Friday, September 16


Via Mainstream Baptist, Ethics presents a different take on our presidentially proclaimed "National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of Hurricane Katrina."

President Bush has declared Friday, Sept. 16, as a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

"I ask that the people of the United States and places of worship mark this National Day of Prayer and Remembrance with memorial services and other appropriate observances," he said.

Bush called upon Americans "to pray to Almighty God and to perform acts of service."

Urging Americans to contribute financially to relief organizations, the president said, "We pray that God will bless the souls of the lost, and that He will comfort their families and friends and all lives touched by this disaster."

What would the Hebrew prophet from Tekoa say about a national day of prayer? ...What then would Amos say about a national day of prayer?

The text about feasts and solemn assemblies in the context of a message about social injustice gives us a straightforward answer. Amos would condemn a national day of prayer, if it is severed from a commitment to do justice.

He would likely see a nationalistic piety as false worship, offering comfort but not justice.

For Amos, justice today would mean a transformative faith in a sinful world. Justice means practicing fairness in the market place, working for an equitable society, empowering the poor, protecting for the powerless and pushing rich Christians to adjust downward their lifestyles.

Amos would surely condemn those political leaders who plan tax cuts for the wealthy, wage cuts for the working poor and budget cuts in programs that care for society's weakest members.

Will the prophetic message of justice surface at the heart of the national day of prayer? Will the preachers play politicians? Will the politicians play preachers?


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