Today's Lectionary Text
On that day I will raise up
The time is surely coming, says the Lord,
I recently attended a meeting of the Methodist Federation for Social Action in Detroit, Michigan. Growing up in Nebraska, what I knew about Detroit was it was the home of the auto industry, Motown Records, Aretha Franklin and, of course, the Detroit Tigers. Then there were riots in the late ‘60s, followed by white flight. Today, the city’s population is under 700,000, less than 40 percent of what it was 60 years ago. Whole neighborhoods were abandoned. I drove through areas of empty blocks with only grass where houses once stood, children played and neighbors shared community.
This sounds bleak, much like the devastation described in Amos: cities laid waste, people wailing in the streets, farmers lamenting. But Amos also tells of a vision of promise: cities rebuilt and people moving in; fields and gardens planted and yielding a harvest. I witnessed this, also. Detroiters are working to reclaim and rebuild their city, and to recreate a new sense of community, with United Methodist churches leading the effort. God is bringing a new, positive energy where once there was much destruction and despair.
Not only in cities, but in our rural communities, too, economic inequity, racism, sexism and the degradation of the environment affect us all. All experiences of injustice are interconnected and interact on multiple levels. What harms me harms all in a web of interrelationships.
Another vision of Amos showed a wall and a plumb line used to ensure it was built truly (Amos 7:8). It’s a symbol of a standard against which we measure our faithfulness in being true to God’s vision. We can strive to be like that plumb line and call everyone to be justice-seeking people of faith. God is calling us as followers of Jesus to witness to God’s life-giving power.
-Rev. Stephen Griffith, retired
Saint Paul UMC, Lincoln, NE
Prayer for Reflection
God, give us a vision of your purpose, your justice, and give us courage and joy in following the path where your Son leads us. Set us as a plumb line in the midst of your people.
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