Sermon Preached at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, Atlanta, GA
With apologies to Mary and Martha, my sermon today is on the book of Amos.
Only twice a year do we read from this Old Testament prophet, but its 13 brief pages have as much to say to us today as they did to the Northern kingdom of Israel two thousand seven hundred and forty-some-odd years ago.
While Amos is probably my favorite book in the Bible (confirming the suspicion of some of my friends that I ought to be a rabbi), it is not for the faint of heart. For those who think coming to church should make you feel better, Amos has something else in mind.
You see, Amos delivered his prophecies during one of the rare moments of economic prosperity and political power for the people of ancient Israel. Normally the underdogs, at this point in history the tables had turned and Israel was on top, with security, money, land, peace, and a lot of confidence in themselves, and in God’s blessing on them.
But Amos saw something else – a country that had grown fat on the backs of the poor, a nation whose religious rituals were a sham, and whose confidence in God’s protection was severely misplaced. Just when Israel thought God was defending them and giving them glory, Amos comes along to say that a day of doom is around the corner. For in God’s eyes, injustice cannot go on forever.