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Reading the Bible Day 131

Hi friends, welcome to the book of Amos! Amos is another fiery prophet, similar to the first Isaiah. Amos can be tough to read because it's like being called out. But when people call us out it's an act of love, not of shame (although it can certainly feel that way in the moment!) Amos does that for the church. Ignoring all of his calls for fire and damnation and war as that's very timely to that specific exile there are still things that apply to us. Things about the true purpose of the church and questions of authenticity. Some of the very best sermons I've heard preached were from Amos. So be ready to be inspired as we dive on in!



Optional(ish): If you want an overview of Amos, or if you are more of a visual learner than I recommend watching this video before moving forward.



Scripture to Read


Amos 1 - 5

Psalm 126


Audio Bible


Questions to Consider

  1. What does this reveal to me about God?

  2. What does this reveal to me about humanity?

  3. Where would Jesus be in this situation? Where would I?

  4. What do I interpret "justice" and "righteousness" to mean in the Bible? What acts of justice does our church do? Do I advocate for?

- My Thoughts -

Being a young pastor in a job field that looks increasingly dwindling in as the years go on I tend to read a metric ton of "How to save the church and keep an income" books. Although these self proclaimed messiahs of the church all have their own interpretations of how to save the church there is one question that has lingered in every single one. "If your church were to close tomorrow - aside from those inside, who would care? Who would notice?" Questions like this sting but often are revealing a scary truth for many churches. Few would care. Few would notice. The amount of times I've had to explain to people in the village where our church was when talking to them in the triangle is crazy to me. At most, I'll get people to say "oh, you're the church with the bells! We really like those bells."


Amos has words for churches who are known for their bells. God rampages against the church in the (In)famous words of Amos 5 saying "I don't give a care about your hymns, your traditions, your ornate sanctuaries, or your church bells. I care about JUSTICE."


Now, this is not a time to get defensive. I'm not being critical of our church, our church family is lovely and very supportive of one another. I'm imagining how we can extend that love to our community in a more personal way than bells. To give our (friendly) rival Federated UCC some credit whenever I ask someone about federated I often hear responses such as "Oh that's the church with the big rainbow flag, right?" (some say this with love, others with utter disgust) or "I've taken part in a race relations seminar with them this past year, they are great!" or "That's that "Justice" church" (again, either with praise or on the verge of vomiting)


The courageous series we are in right now (www.chagrinfallsumc.org/series) is aiming to inspire us to new and creative ministries that on a more intimate and personal level fight for justice. Maybe prison ministries will blossom from this? Maybe our work with Trials for Hope will flourish? Maybe we can start a relief program single mom's? Maybe it's free community meals each month. Better yet - let's use the massive blessing of living in a crazy educated community to do things even bigger. Maybe it's partnering with the doctors that call this place home to offer free medical check up's to the homeless or it's partnering with lawyers to create legislation that calls for prison reform or reform at the borders. That's the kind of legacy that booms louder than any bell. That's the kind of legacy that shakes foundations. That's the kind of legacy that God yearns for Amos. Let's get courageous and get BIG in our endeavors for 2021. May it be so! Amen aaannnnnndndddddd amen ;)


Prayer:


Today we pray the song "we gather together" from our beloved hymnal, page 131 for day 131 :)


If you would like to sing along the music is beneath the lyrics. Otherwords, I invite you to pray the words of scripture to yourself.


1. We gather together

to ask the Lord's blessing;

he chastens and hastens

his will to make known.

The wicked oppressing

now cease from distressing.

Sing praises to his name,

he forgets not his own.


2. Beside us to guide us,

our God with us joining,

ordaining, maintaining

his kingdom divine;

so from the beginning

the fight we were winning;

thou, Lord, wast at our side,

all glory be thine!


3. We all do extol thee,

thou leader triumphant,

and pray that thou still

our defender wilt be.

Let thy congregation

escape tribulation;

thy name be ever praised!

O Lord, make us free!




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United Methodist Church of Chagrin Falls

440-247-5848

info@chagrinfallsumc.org

20 S. Franklin St. 

Chagrin Falls, Ohio, 44022

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