“On that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen, and repair its branches, and raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old.” (Amos 9:11, NRSV)
Any sermon series by a visiting preacher that early on calls the Church Women’s Group “Cows of Bashan,” (Amos 4:1) couldn’t have been a comfortable one to sit through. Amos doesn’t mince any words in telling the folks in the northern kingdom of Israel that God isn’t happy with them, and why. In fact, that kingdom will disintegrate before the occupation of the southern kingdom of Judah. Yet after his predictions of destruction, Amos says that God will “raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old.” We of this nation, or any nation, can’t expect that all will be sweetness and light just because we have “In God we trust” on our money. The things we have done and left undone as a nation can bring God’s condemnation and possibly destruction by our own hands. But even stormy Amos promises that God will hang in there with a sinful nation and eventually “raise up its ruins.” We can take hope in that, but perhaps it would be better if we didn’t let things get to that point. God would prefer that.
God of All Nations, Even in ways that are beyond our wills, we are guilty of the same abuses of others as Amos’ audience. Give us eyes to see our sinfulness, and lead us as individuals, a state, and a nation back towards your ways, and a real trust in You. Rebuild us now, so You won’t have to later. Amen.
– Fr. Larry Parrish, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Falls City