“Seek good and not evil:” Family faith formation for October 10, 2021

(Note: if possible, have crayons, markers, colored pencils or paints and paper available for the second reading of Scripture.)


Invite various persons to bring a designated item and use this liturgy as a way 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 and 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 5:11-15

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

Place colors on the table and give each person a piece of paper. Then, as the Scripture is read a second time, invite participants to choose colors to draw or write words that come to mind as they listen. What colors, words and/or shapes did you draw/write and why?

Connecting through story

Watch this clip from the Bible Project:

  • What did you learn from this video about justice that surprised you?
  • How is it different from what we understand justice to be in our current society?

Connecting with our lives

Engage in dialogue

  • What message is Amos trying to get across to God’s people?
  • What do you think may have been “going wrong” in ancient Israel that God would need to send this message through Amos?
  • What is Amos’ suggestion for how to “right the wrong” that is happening?
  • What do you think is the “evil” Amos mentions?
  • What do you think is the “good” Amos wants people to pursue?
  • What is your definition of justice?
  • How do you think it is the same or difference from God’s understanding of justice (particularly as it is referenced in today’s passage)?
  • Where do you see similar “evils” (as Amos defines them) in our world?
  • What are examples of the “good” we should seek out in the world today?
  • Where do you see injustice in our communities, nation and world today?
  • In what ways to you “seek good?”
  • In what ways can you work for and participate in “establishing justice?” How can you encourage and hold leaders accountable for “establishing justice?”

Teaching Points that can be incorporated into your discussion

  • The city gate was more than an entrance in ancient Israel. It is where prophets often conveyed the message, justice could be sought and concretely mediated and judicial proceedings would happen.
  • God wove the expectation of justice into the commandments and tied it to continuing in good relationship with God. If the people of Israel wanted the Promised Land and God’s favor, then they must do justice, provide for the needs of the powerless and marginalized.
  • Amos has a strong emphasis on the connection between justice and worship. According to the prophet, if justice was not provided to the widow, orphan and alien (those who were poor, powerless and disenfranchised), then the worship they offered God was empty and displeasing to God.
  • In other words, if justice was not provided by God’s people, God’s people would experience God’s disfavor – not abandonment as God never leaves God’s people – but there will be consequences to choosing not to follow God’s commandment of justice.
  • Today, the word “justice” has been coopted by political and social realities so as to lose God’s understanding of justice. However, God wrote justice into the laws of how God’s people are to live, and those expectations are just as relevant today as they were for ancient Israel.
  • Just as justice and worship are entwined, love and justice are different embodiments of the same biblical mandate. Justice is the concrete, structural and systemic enactment of love for all members of the community — from the wealthiest and most powerful to the “least of these.”
  • It can be very overwhelming and sometimes confusing to consider where to begin the work of justice. One place that can help is the PC(USA)’s Office of Public Witness. They are a valuable and fierce partner for us as we seek to “do good” and “establish justice.”

Find a newspaper or access the National Public Radio news website and look for stories that connect to God’s understanding of justice in today’s Amos passage. In each article or story you read, consider: is God’s justice done or in needed in each instance.


Close your time together by praying for one another, your neighbor, your 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.