The Book of Amos: “Defender of the Downtrodden”
Readings: Amos 5:14-15, 18-24 and Mark 3:7-19
(The chapters covered in this week’s reflections are Amos 3-5, consider reading them in their entirety.)
After a series of prophetic “oracles” chapter 5 introduces a type of lamentation mingled with instruction and invitation into a right way of living. (An “oracle” is a statement, pronouncement of God breaking into the lives of his people regarding his mind, will or intention. Prophetic oracles, like we find in Amos, were unsolicited comments given from God as he speaks on the activity of human life from his vantage point.)
- In Amos 5, the word seek is employed five times. There is something God desires his people to seek (to seek out, to seek after, to seek to discover, to seek to do, etc.). Our specific readings, Amos 5:14-15, 18-24, contain one of the five times the word seek is used. Take a moment to consider what, in your life right now, are you seeking? As you read these verses, reflect on what God is calling attention to and asking his people to seek. Where do you notice your own seeking in alignment with God’s desire for his people? Where do you notice your seeking eschewed from what seems to be a priority for God?
[A suggestion: if you aren’t aware of what your heart, mind, body seeks you might want to practice charting your activities for a week. Notice where you spend your energy, time and money; what you do for recreation; what service projects you engage in; if/you give yourself room to daydream, reflect, or pray. Usually, by a simple practice of noticing the way your days unfold and how you respond to yourself and engagement in the world informs us about our desires and priorities or what we care about most. Ask yourself, Am I living as God intended? Am I a person who is seeking good as God defines “good”? (Amos 5:14) If you’d like to take this further, converse with a pastor about what you discover.]
- Reflect on this version of Amos 5:24 from The Message. Hear what God wants. What are your thoughts?
Do you know what I want?
I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
That’s what I want. That’s all I want.
- Read the gospel narrative, Mark 3:7-19. Here we see Jesus confronted with oceans of human drama and need. He engages it all with the capacity for good in truly incarnational ways; the things that God alluded to through the prophet Amos. The twelve would face the same, and do the same. The Church for centuries engages in the same challenge: to see the crowds and seek good. Where in your life, home or workplace, as you look out over the crowds of things to do, people to see, needs to attend, might you incarnate the invitation to seek good? Take a few moments to pray and respond to God’s invitation. Ask for creative ways to incarnate good in your life and environment. Maybe, you might to start with a prayer that is crafted from Titus 2:14: O God, help me be a person, energetic in goodness (MSG)…