November 8 — Let justice roll down like water: Family faith formation @ home


Invite various persons to bring a designated item and use this liturgy to begin your time of learning together. 

One:    Come, let us gather around and see how the Spirit will nurture our faith today.

All:      Who is with us?
One:    Christ, the light of the world.
(Place a candle on a table in your gathering place and light it.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:   The Love of God, who came to meet us in the world.
(Place a cross on a table in your gathering place.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:    The Wisdom of God, who speaks through the Scriptures.
(Place an open Bible on a table in your gathering place.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:    The Grace of God, who proclaims we are children of God.
(Place a symbol of baptism – a bowl of water, a seashell – on a table in your gathering space.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:    Our risen Lord, who meets us at the table.
(Place a symbol of communion – a plate and cup, a loaf of bread, grapes – on a table in your gathering space.)

One:    We are here, Holy Spirit, ready for your leading.

God sightings and prayer offerings 

Invite each person to share where they saw or experienced God this week. Invite each person to share something — a person, community, experience, event, etc. – for which they want to offer prayer.

Good and gracious God, we thank you for all the ways you were and are present in our lives and in the world. [Invite each person to say aloud the sighting they named earlier.] We bring our prayers to you, prayers for… [invite each person to say aloud the prayer need they named earlier]. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.

Connecting with Scripture: Amos 5:18-24

Read the Scripture aloud the first time using the New Revised Standard Version or the Common English Bible.

As you read the Scripture a second time, pull into the forefront of your mind a picture of moving water. After the Scripture is read, talk about what kind of flowing water you pictured. Was it a bubbling brook, a waterfall, a rushing river with rapids, the ocean?

Connecting through story

Watch this clip from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

  • Why did Dr. King need to make this kind of speech?
  • What were some of the injustices to which he was referring?
  • Where did you hear today’s Scripture?

Connecting with our lives

 Engage in dialogue:

  • Why would the people think the “day of the Lord” would be a good thing to desire?
  • Why would Amos write of it as a “dark” thing?
  • Amos writes that God was fed up with the way the Israelites worshipped (see verses 21-23). Why do you think God was frustrated?
  • What clue does verse 24 provide about God’s frustration?
  • What do you think the connection is between justice and worship?
  • Why do you think Amos used the imagery of rolling water when speaking of justice?
  • What was the image of water that came to your mind during the second reading of Scripture?
  • What kind of justice would your image of water be like? Would it be fast and strong? Would it be constant like the waves of the ocean? Would it be gentle?
  • Where do you see injustice today?
  • What would it mean for justice to roll down in those situations?
  • If God thought the ancient Israelites’ worship was empty because they did not do justice during the week, what do you think God thinks about our worship today?

Teaching points that can be incorporated into your discussion:

  • Amos was a prophet sent by God to deliver a very important message. He was an ordinary person. His job was to tend to the sycamore trees.
  • In these verses, Amos is telling the people that God finds their worship empty because they are not doing justice during the week.
  • Justice is working to create society and structures that support equity so that everyone has what they need to thrive because we are in covenant relationship with God and one another.
  • Righteousness is concerned with the quality of our relationships — and how those relationships reflect our devotion to God and commitment to neighbor.
  • All through the Old Testament, especially in the covenant made through Moses with God’s people, is the requirement to do justice: to take care of the poor, to honor the dignity and the image of God in each through personal relationships and equitable structures. It is not optional, but rather is a measure of our love of and faithfulness to God.

If your family is not familiar with, or needs a refresher on, the context for the “I Have a Dream” speech, this video will be of interest. There are also videos available on the internet of the full speech.



Close your time together by praying for one another, your neighbor, community and the world.

REBECCA DAVIS is the associate professor of Christian education at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. A teaching elder and certified educator, she served congregations for over 20 years before moving into academic teaching. In addition to teaching and mentoring students, her passion is child advocacy and ministry.