Amos 5:6-7; 10-15 (NRSV)
Verse 6Seek 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. Verse 7Ah, you that turn justice to wormwood, and bring righteousness to the ground! Verse 10They hate the one who reproves in the gate, and they abhor the one who speaks the truth. Verse 11Therefore 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. Verse 12For 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. Verse 13Therefore the prudent will keep silent in such a time; for it is an evil time. Verse 14Seek 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. Verse 15Hate 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.
My wife and I spend a lot of time at our lake cabin in northern Minnesota. For nearly six decades I’ve been coming here. Memories have accumulated over those years—fishing openers, autumn leaves, bacon and eggs. We have rebuilt the little cabin into a modern year-round home, but the place still calls me back. Amos is a man of justice, a man who longs for ones who honor right and wrong. Seek the Lord, he says and maybe God will be merciful. But what Amos does not fully realize is that I am incapable of finding God on my own. I identify with St. Paul, “The good that I want to do I don’t do.” Martin Luther asked, “Where can I find a gracious God?” The answer is found at the foot of the cross, in the empty tomb, in the bread and wine, in sunrises and sunsets, the evening breeze, natures benedictions. Here at the cabin and elsewhere I say, “Thanks be to God!”
Oh Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Amen.