Most houses are not plumb. Some were never built that way; others have settled or shifted. It is almost impossible to bring an out-of-plumb house back into true. We think of the world that way too: We just have to learn to live with it, askew as it is.
The good news of Jesus Christ, though, is that reality will change. Jesus taught and embodied the nearness of God’s kingdom, a new reality becoming present in this world. And Jesus called disciples to join in that work.
What tools might we bring to the task of bringing the world back into the plumb of God’s justice and love? It’s not easy work to do, and the tools will have to be up to the job. Paul points us in the right direction. He says that since hearing about the blossoming spirit of the Colossians, he hasn’t stopped praying for them.
It sounds trite to say that our primary tool at bringing our world back into plumb is prayer. But maybe our concept of prayer is skewed. We tend to think of prayer as words we think or say aloud. But words are the merest form of prayer. Our tears when we see a child refugee’s body are prayer. Muscles aching from cleaning a flood-ravaged home are prayer. Late night hours spent with someone struggling with depression are prayer. Good words might indeed true an out-of-plumb wall by just a bit, but prayer brings so much more than words to the task. Paul prays that the Colossians might live lives pleasing to God, living prayers as it were. Those prayers not only reshape us; they expose the walls and floors that are askew, walls and floors that need us to pray them back into true.
Open our eyes to the off angles of life, O Christ, that our prayers of words might start the work of prayer that brings us back into plumb. Amen.
Amos is a farmer called by God to deliver a message to Jeroboam, the king of Israel (the Northern Kingdom in the divided monarchy). Because the king has not listened to the warnings from God, judgment will come. The psalmist also warns of judgment, in this case for those who oppress the weak and needy and fail to protect them from the wicked. Such heartless people will surely be brought low by God. The opening to the letter to the Colossians is a prayer of thanksgiving for their faith in Christ and the spiritual fruit they are producing in the world. The parable in the Gospel reading challenges our human tendency to ignore need. Jesus teaches that mercy should overcome any reason we might find to harden our hearts.
Read Amos 7:7-17. Look for God’s plumb line in the world. In what ways is the ground you stand on askew?
Read Psalm 82. If you sit on the council of the Most High, how does this change your perspective on the world?
Read Colossians 1:1-14. Prayers of mere words are just the beginning of prayer. To what prayerful actions do your prayerful words call you?
Read Luke 10:25-37. The author writes, “Even those trying to be faithful walk askew.” Consider how you live out Jesus’ call to love your neighbor.
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