Who's the Crazy One? (Amos 7, but also 8-9)
If you ask me, this shepherd
was inviting his audience to skin him alive,
especially given his X-rated
vision of Amaziah's wife's fate.
But maybe the one who's plumb crazy
is the One who saves the people
from locusts and fire, while pointing
to the very center, the ruling class,
who are supposed to watch out for everyone.
There are consequences for all
when the needy are trampled on,
and the poor are brought to ruin.
So "Wake up," calls Amos, still.
But read to the end to remember:
The LORD is crazy about his people,
And will not them pass by.
Scott L. Barton
This is what the Lord God showed me: he was forming locusts at the time the latter growth began to sprout (it was the latter growth after the king’s mowings). When they had finished eating the grass of the land, I said, “O Lord God, forgive, I beg you! How can Jacob stand? He is so small!” The Lord relented concerning this; “It shall not be,” said the Lord. This is what the Lord God showed me: the Lord God was calling for a shower of fire, and it devoured the great deep and was eating up the land. Then I said, “O Lord God, cease, I beg you! How can Jacob stand? He is so small!” The Lord relented concerning this; “This also shall not be,” said the Lord God.This is what he showed me: the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said, “See, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass them by; the high places of Isaac shall be made desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste, and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.”
Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent to King Jeroboam of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the very center of the house of Israel; the land is not able to bear all his words. For thus Amos has said, ‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel must go into exile away from his land.’” And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, earn your bread there, and prophesy there; but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.” Then Amos answered Amaziah, “I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees,and the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ “Now therefore hear the word of the Lord. You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel, and do not preach against the house of Isaac.” Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘Your wife shall become a prostitute in the city, and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword, and your land shall be parceled out by line; you yourself shall die in an unclean land, and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.’”
A New and Different View of Self
How easily we turn this text
Into the force of law;
We ought to love the robbed, we think,
But where, in that's, the awe?
Let Jesus get into your head
When what you want's prescription,
Imagine you're the one who's robbed -
Would you throw a conniption
When helped by a Samaritan
You never thought would care?
Oh, no! You'd love the one who just
Your soul and life repaired!
You'd have a new and different view
Of self - for you were saved
By one who rightly couldn't care
If you were in the grave!
I wonder why the Maker of
The earth and heav'n should care
About poor slobs like you and me
Who haven't got a prayer
Until our unsuspecting God,
And neighbor, don't pass by,
And grace, like oil and wine anointing,
Scott L. Barton
(Also posted at http://lectionarypoems.blogspot.com/2013/07/eighth-sunday-after-pentecost-july-14.html)
Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”