Today's Lectionary Text
I hate, I despise your festivals,
This is what he showed me: the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said,
“See, I am setting a plumb line
The Hebrew prophets often spoke a word of judgment against God’s people. They called the people to account for the ways they were violating the covenant with God.
The Prophet Amos, for example, presents a litany of sins, lambasting those “who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, … who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and push aside the needy.” The prophet especially denounces the leaders, because they are “at ease in Zion.” They feel secure in their wealth and position, and “lie on beds of ivory,” enjoying the comforts of life while the poor suffer.
These words could well be directed to us today. We see the disparity between the wealthy and the working class increasing alarmingly. We see many denied access to basic health care. We see minorities insulted and told to “go back where they came from.” We see immigrants and refugees at our southern border caged in inhuman conditions, crowded in detention camps, deprived of basic hygiene, denied toothbrushes, soap, showers … and even clean drinking water, with children separated from their parents. What would God say to that?
Then Amos told of a vision. God showed him a builder building a wall. The builder was using a plumb-line to be sure the wall was built truly. And God said, “I am setting a plumb-line in the midst of my people.” Amos was to be that plumb-line. He was to speak out and call the people back to faithfulness.
That is our job, too: we are to be a plumb-line, measuring our lives, our church, our society against the standard of God’s justice, mercy and humility. We are to be involved, stand up and speak out against “evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.
Prayer for Reflection
God of the least and the lost, teach us again your vision of shalom – of wholeness and justice and peace. Help us to speak up for those who have been shut out, pushed down and ignored, and those who have been wounded and discarded by our society.
This Week's Lectionary
This Week's Liturgical Color