Every week during the summer, I pick up a delicious basket full of summer fruits and vegetables from UpCycle Farm—tomatoes, zucchini, watermelon, strawberries, and more. My family eats, stores, or shares the food right away because if we neglect our food in the basket, it will rot quickly in the summer heat.
Amos, a herdsman by trade, understands the implications of his vision of a basket of summer fruit. The people of Israel have neglected the word of God for too long, and they have become “rotten”—songs in the Temple have become wailings, people die in the streets, the poor are cheated in the market place, and merchants rush through the sabbath so they can get back to the business of “buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals.” As a result of these deceitful practices, God says “I will send a famine on the land; not a famine of bread, or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.”
That famine of hearing the words of the Lord continues today: People are dying in our streets, we trample on the needy, and we justify almost any behavior that will turn a profit. We glorify violence and sex and then seem shocked when our communities are beset with violent crime and sexual harassment.
We would do well to remember the basket of summer fruit. Rather than neglecting God’s word and pursuing the “rotten” practices of deceitful self-promotion, we need to be about the work of loving one another. May we feed on the word and bear the fruits of God’s love and grace in our daily lives.
Lord, nourish us by your word so that we may offer food and nourishment to a world in need. Amen.
This reading from Amos provides more indication of the reasons for God’s coming judgment. Too many in Israel have been oppressing the poor. They cannot wait for religious festivals to end so that they can make more money through corrupt trade, including what we now call human trafficking. If we understand the psalmist to be David, the warning he issues in this passage concern Saul. Because Saul has turned to evil, God will not allow him to remain in power. While God is love, God also sometimes brings judgment. The author of Colossians extols the elevated status of Christ, who has reconciled us to himself through his death. In Luke, Mary prioritizes spending time with Jesus, while Martha focuses on working for Jesus. It is Mary who receives Jesus’ praise.
Read Amos 8:1-12. Who in your community has been left behind in the famine from hearing the words of the Lord? How can you care for them?
Read Psalm 52. How do you remain rooted in God’s steadfast love when you cry out against injustice?
Read Colossians 1:15-28. What do you need to let fall away to reveal the mystery of Christ in you?
Read Luke 10:38-42. How do you focus on Christ even as you attend to the necessary tasks of daily life?
Respond by posting a prayer.
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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