Stage 2: Seeing with Amos’s Eyes, part 2
In part one of the Amos stage, we encouraged a look at our own neighborhoods. What do you see where you live and work and play? But we don’t stop there. We are called to enlarge our vision and see beyond our own boundaries. This a harder seeing, an often-troubling investigation. God asks Amos, who then asks us, to look deeper. What is underneath our wealth, our comfort, our excess? Who is suffering, who is hurting, who is decaying like the basket of summer fruit in our text, which is coming to the end of its summer? That’s the look that we’re invited to take today.
This isn’t a call to nation bashing, to pointing fingers, and calling names. This isn’t about blame. But it is a call to truth, to reality. What do we see? What do we see in our neighborhood about the inequities of the distribution of wealth? What do we see in our nation about the inequities of the distribution of justice? What do we see in our world about the inequities of the distribution of resources? Amos is asking us to take a hard look at the state of our world. This is a look we too often turn away from, claiming to be too busy, too wrapped up in our struggles to see beyond our boundaries.
Maybe the way to find the strength to take this look is to begin by looking at where we are trying to make a difference. Here is an opportunity where the various mission efforts of the church could be lifted up as a way of saying we have seen and we want to respond. We have seen poverty and we want to respond with food distribution and job creation. We have seen injustice and we want to respond with protests and petitions, with pro bono work and advocacy. We have seen the ravages of depression and mental illness and we want to respond with community care plans and mentoring and access to health care.
It’s a hard task, but Amos is asking us to see everything—to see a world in need of God’s guidance and Spirit; to see a world in need of a kin-dom way of living in community; to see a world in need of diversity and acceptance; to see a world as it really is and not give in to despair. That’s the hard part; that’s the struggle. The theme of seeing everything needs to be undergirded with hope—hope that with God, all things are possible; hope that while we might not know them yet, there are solutions; there are possibilities. That’s our proclamation today: It’s a roll up your sleeves and get to work invitation. What do you see?
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.