by Robert Charles Leibold
On New Year’s Eve dear friend s suddenly found themselves in a life-and-death crisis when their SUV went into an uncontrollable spin on black ice. With a full load of groceries and two children buckled in the rear seat, the SUV flipped over and slammed into a telephone pole, snapping it in two – a totally unexpected and frightening moment for this family of four. Sam, father of the two boys, was driving. He later told me of the utterly help less feeling that over shadowed him, knowing his family was in danger and unable to do anything about it.
Amos 8 carries a similar feeling of crisis for the people of Israel. Surely it’s difficult to read Amos’s prophetic message and not be overwhelmed with heaviness of heart. Whether we speak of a personal crisis of soul or a crisis of national proportions, our feelings resonate with Amos’s dark night of desolation. Amos sees “a basket of summer fruit” that appears to him in a prophetic vision . God seems to say to Amos, You’re eating your last basket of fruit – “the end has come upon my people Israel .” The totality of famine and loss is great, coming as the cost of Israel’s living unjustly with no compassion for one an other. In the end, the people desperately seek for a God who wants no part of them.
It would not be easy to preach this sermon to God’s people. Yet, sometimes God’s people need to hear hard things. On occasion (or perhaps more often than not) we need to be confronted with how we live. Amos causes us to question: ls God part of my life? Is God near when l need God? What word is God asking me to hear today?
Help me, 0 God; you alone are my strength. Amen.