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July 2022

Jul

What Do You See?

Prophet Margins

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C

If Elisha wants us to listen, Amos wants us to look. God’s repeated word to Amos was, “What do you see?” It was an invitation to pay attention, to take off the rose-colored glasses and really see what was before him. How often do we really pay attention to the world around us?

Rev. Dr. B. Kevin Smalls

We are thrilled to welcome the writing of Rev. Dr. B. Kevin Smalls for the Preaching Notes for this worship series. Dr. Smalls is senior pastor of Hope United Methodist Church in Southfield, Michigan, and an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church. Click here to read more about Dr. Smalls.


In walks Amos! He comes as what we would call a second-career prophet. He was actually a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore trees.

Engaging the prophetic ministry was a rude awakening from his original career path. As one who is doing the work of announcing God’s judgment on the wayward behavior of God’s people, he was immediately cast into confusion.

The prophetic work always disturbs those in the type of power that is contrary to justice and liberation. God does not support oppressive governments and systems. Those who occupy such power are seldom willing to relinquish it or make the type of adjustments that align with God’s will and way.

Here is where Amos comes in. He is immediately thrown into a character assassination by a corrupt priest, Amaziah. Amaziah was a priest from the House of Bethel, a house known for idolatrous worship. This priest did what many corrupt troublemakers do. He spread rumors. Yup. Rumors. Rumors, to this day, fuel politics and campaigns and threaten to destabilize any credibility of the leader in question.

Amos, however, was confident in who he was and confident in what God had called him to do. To lack this confidence throws one’s ministry into a tailspin and tosses the would-be-prophet into a sea of confusion.

Amos made very bold moves. He went to the actual temple at Bethel and told the people there that God was setting a plumbline (today, we mostly use levels). A plumbline, of course, was a string with a weight at the end of it to measure how straight a wall was. Amos informed the idol worshipers and their priest that God was setting a plumbline against the house of Jeroboam and that the king, Israel, and its leadership were likely crooked next to the plumbline.

Now, Amaziah, angered by Amos’s message, sent word to the king that a troublemaker is conspiring against him. Conspiring and prophesying may feel like the same thing to the recipient of such a message, but they are entirely different.

The question is, “Are we bold enough to proclaim to a broken world, a bitter, anger-driven world, that God has set a plumbline in our midst?” Are we able to endure the attacks that come to us when we speak truth to power? Are we able to answer God’s call to engage the prophetic work, even if that y work is done from the margins?

In This Series...


Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes

Colors


  • Green

In This Series...


Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes