It is easy to ignore the obvious, especially in difficult times. It is easy to think only about ourselves and to assume that everything is fine as long as we are well. It is easy to turn away at the struggles of others whom we see on our screens or hear about on our phones.
Imagine having to live in the day-to-day struggle to survive; to live in constant anxiety, uncertainty, and fear; to live with no hope of getting ahead no matter how hard you work! Imagine living in a context where those who have much get more every day, and yet you who have little seem to have less—less of everything, including hope.
I have often wondered what it would take to get our attention. It has been my experience as a pastor that as much as I would like to think otherwise, preaching does not really get people’s attention. Preaching is easily filtered through our own ways of seeing the world. Preaching is also easily dismissed with a simple “I disagree with you, pastor.” Preaching has its limits. So do Bible study and other practices that we hope will help people wake up to the realities of their neighbors.
Justice seems fleeting.
Today the prophet proclaims that we are about to pay attention! Creation will groan in ways that we will not be able to ignore. We will be directly affected by our inattentiveness to the neediest among us. God is about to do something that will guarantee our response.
God is calling us, shaking us, reminding us over and over again of the consequences of our unjust and uncaring ways but also that solidarity with God’s other children is difficult but possible by the power of the Spirit.
God, open my eyes, take away my excuses, help me be in solidarity with those who are hurting, suffering, and struggling. 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 concerns 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? 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?
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