My spouse and I look around at a house filled with boxes. It has been a busy time, and soon we recognize that to settle into a rhythm in this new place we need not only to begin unpacking but to make a home. One way to make a new place seem like home comes in decorating the walls. Soon pictures, shelves, and other items lean against the wall, waiting for my wife to begin the process of hanging.
Before my wife begins making holes in the wall, she uses a laser level to make sure that all our pictures hang straight. As soon as the laser hit the wall, we discover that our wall is not plumb. We can hang the pictures straight, but they will never look straight on the wall.
Without a measure how do we know that our lives are just? How do we know that, although our lives look just, truthfully our souls are a bit crooked, not having been transformed?
Before Amos can report on the state of the nation of Israel, he needs a standard. The standard comes to him in a vision. Visions seem hyperbolic or the stuff of sci-fi. We tend not to view our world in this way. Yet here the plumb line becomes the way that God measures the justice and faithfulness of the people. It provides an image to pave the way for Israel to return to a fruitful way of life.
In our lives it is good to know the standard, the plumb line, by which God measures us, our actions and thoughts of justice. Accountability to our growth in God’s love is not easy, but God’s call to fruitfulness on behalf of the kingdom demands that we live into God’s care for those who need it most. Let us not ignore the vision that, like a laser level, restores us to righteousness.
God, open us to visions that help us see our future in you. May we respond to the ways those visions help us redirect our lives toward justice, peace, and love. Amen.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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