Scripture: Amos 2:6-16
Key verse: (6 – 7a) “Thus says the Lord: For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals – they who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth, and push the afflicted out of the way.”
Reflection: Harsh words for the first day at work after a long Thanksgiving holiday. Harsh words for the first Monday of Advent. Perhaps you’ve decorated your Christmas tree already. Perhaps you are planning to bake cookies later today or take care of some cyber-Monday shopping deals. And then your devotion rains down judgment.
Advent is a season of preparation, preparing ourselves for the coming of Christ. Traditionally the season was focused on the second coming of Christ not the birth of a baby in Bethlehem. The season calls us to spiritual scrutiny and examination. The prophet Amos seems to specialize in scrutiny and examination as he proclaims the Lord’s judgment on the nation of Israel. Apparently the people were mistreating the poor, taking advantage of their disadvantages, and exploiting their circumstances. Things (like sandals) were more important than people.
As we journey through Advent together, let’s consider Amos’ harsh words. When we are in a hurry to get our holiday tasks completed, are we trampling over people in our way? When we are shopping, are we thinking only about what we want and not about the workers who made it and sell it to us? Sometimes, even when we are headed to worship, we are snarling at other drivers and yelling at the members of our families. What irony that we prepare to celebrate the coming of Christ in ways that might not honor his way of abundant life. Let’s consider the Way of Advent this year and make some simple commitments to prepare for Christ.
Prayer: Eternal God, through long generations you prepared a way for the coming of your Son, and by your Spirit you still bring light to illumine our paths. Renew us in faith and hope that we may welcome Christ to rule our thoughts and claim our love, as Lord of lords and King of kings, to whom be glory always. Amen. (prayer from Book of Common Worship, p. 173)
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].