lessons in redemption

crucifixToday was not the best of days. A worrying pastoral situation or three… Awareness of things done and left undone. A sense of exhaustion when I was trying to prepare tonight’s bible study and a quite legitimate worry that this time I would not get away with it and could not fake my way through.

But then, God caught me off guard. Amos, unexpectedly, came as grace.

There is nothing like a bit of righteous anger, underlined by God’s deep constancy and love to unravel the knots of a bad day.

During the bible study, someone drove to the heart of it: the faith of remnant Israel is remarkable. To go through all that, to be scattered to the wind, broken and torn, and to come out proclaiming the constancy and compassion of God is a remarkable thing.

So there is grace in working through the text: getting carried away on a wave of righteous indignation, purging the need to blame, being pushed into the place where God turns the tables, and says ‘and you? are you really any different?’. And then being offered the space to grow, the invitation to seek God, the promise that God will not utterly destroy but will raise up life.

A more cowardly people would have burnt Amos’ prophesies and denied them. But somehow they realised: there is grace here. If we face our failure, our people’s failure, and learn to tell a new story: there is grace.

But to find it we need to cling together in exile; to face anger and disappointment till we can name God again.

5 thoughts on “lessons in redemption”

  1. Yes, Amos is remarkable. Amos is there like a bed rock. It makes me so sad when readers of the Bible dismiss the ‘O.T. God’ on a superficial basis of a part understanding of the Pentateuch and Judges – and fail ever to discover Amos.

  2. Amos was the first book of the OT they put us to study in the old OT1 course @ aberdeen University, alongside Hosea. It was an eyeopener, which really got me into the OT and brought it alive.

  3. I spent many years as one of those people who make Rosemary sad – dismissing the Old Testament God as rash, judgmental, angry. I still have to fight that lazy tendency sometimes. But events of recent months have driven me back to the Old Testament where I have found great solace – and grace – in the struggles and insights of the Israelites. Amos is pretty amazing.

  4. For anyone who has read this far, but whose sense of Amos is vague, one of the joys is that it is very focused. Nine chapters, easily read in an evening. (hint, hint)

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