Looking for spiritual refreshment? God Pause email devotions are short, meaningful reflections on the following Sunday's lessons and gospel delivered directly to your email box. By Sunday, you'll be ready for an extra meaningful worship experience. 

Our devotion writers are Luther Seminary alumni. Their reflections are a gift to you and to the church.


Previous Day

Monday, October 08, 2012

Next Day

When I was a child, a popular form of Biblical preaching -- at least at my church -- was law-oriented. It seemed to me as if we went to church to be beat up, and then couldn't wait until the next Sunday to repeat the process. Amos would have fit beautifully into that genre. He was the original "hellfire and brimstone" preacher. As one commentator described him, "He was a carpetbagger who came from the south to dump his load on the rival kingdom of Israel." He seemed to enjoy telling people they were about to be obliterated in unpleasant ways.

However, buried in his doomsday prophecy was the reality of life that no one wants to hear. His themes focus on the perversion of justice by the strong against the weak. I guess some things never change. We need to listen to the words of Amos. We need to be willing to stand with those on the margins. We need to "hate evil and love good and establish justice at the gate."

God of power and mercy, give us the strength to stand with those in need. Help us not to give in to the temptation to turn our back on the poor and the powerless. Let us stand with Christ and “the least of these.” Amen.

Charles Axness
First Lutheran Church, Fremont, Neb.
Master of Divinity , 1993

Amos 5:6-7, 10-15 (NRSV)

6 Seek the Lord and live, or he will break out against the house of Joseph like fire, and it will devour Bethel, with no one to quench it.

7 Ah, you that turn justice to wormwood, and bring righteousness to the ground!

10 They hate the one who reproves in the gate, and they abhor the one who speaks the truth.

11 Therefore because you trample on the poor and take from them levies of grain, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not live in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine.

12 For I know how many are your transgressions, and how great are your sins-- you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and push aside the needy in the gate.

13 Therefore the prudent will keep silent in such a time; for it is an evil time.

14 Seek good and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, just as you have said.

15 Hate evil and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

This week's devotions are offered by a Luther Seminary alum from the graduating class of 1993.