From this week’s Revised Common LectionaryAmos 8:1-2
“This is what the Lord God showed me – a basket of summer fruit. He said, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the Lord said to me, “The end has come upon my people Israel; I will never again pass them by.”
“A basket of summer fruit” – at its best, a delicious fragrant collection of ripe fruit. But let the summer heat do its work and the fruit quickly becomes a mess and has to be discarded.
Amos’ vision was an illustration of the imminent collapse of the nation of Israel. The basket represented good turning bad, the end of an era. There was no hope of recovery or reversal. The moral and spiritual deterioration in Israel had passed the “point of no return.” A basket of rotten fruit must be emptied and the fruit thrown away, and the corrupt nation would soon be removed from the land and scattered abroad. Indeed, it literally happened 30 years or so after Amos’ vision. The northern kingdom fell to the Assyrian army. The southern kingdom fell to Nebuchadnezzar and the people were taken into captivity.
The reason given for the demise was the state of the nation (vv4-6):
- Lack of concern for the poor and needy
- Love for money
- Cheating for material gain
- Religious hypocrisy
- Abuse of power in terms of slavery
Amos’ vision pointed to a particular point in time in history. But there’s a great deal for us to reflect upon in our time – about the state of our communities, our nation, our global village.
Hymn writer Carolyn Winfrey Gillette has penned words to a familiar hymn tune. Her words speak to our contemporary context.
God, You Spoke Your Word Through Amos
Tune: BEACH SPRING 188.8.131.52 D (“God Whose Giving Knows No Ending”)
Reference: Amos 8:1-12
God, you spoke your word through Amos long ago and far away.
Still your call for love and justice speaks to people in our day:
For we’ve trampled on the needy and brought heartbreak to the poor;
Lord, our way of life is greedy – we are always wanting more.
We confess the way we’re living harms the planet in our care;
Many times our ways of spending hurt the poor and cause despair.
In a world where millions hunger, we consume without much thought.
So your land and people suffer; may we hear what Amos taught!
Even here within our churches, we have sometimes failed to be
Bearers of your love and justice to your world community.
All our songs and celebrations and the feasting that we do
Turn to mournful lamentations as we cry, “Lord, where are you?”
Lord, renew in us a vision of the world you’re working toward.
Guide your church to make decisions that acknowledge you as Lord.
May we seek your ways of justice, care for earth, and gladly give;
May the words you spoke through Amos guide the way we daily live!
Indeed! May it be so! Amen.
© 2010 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
During these difficult times, Carolyn has allowed use of her 400+ copyrighted hymns for free. At the same time, she welcomes donations to her hymn writing ministry through PayPal, referencing her email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Details on website, www.carolynshymns.com.