I admire Amos. He knows who he is: “I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees” (v 14). His clarity is calming and profound to me, yet somewhat alarming. Perhaps, he unsettles me because for the last eight years, I’ve journeyed with young adults as they grapple with who they are and who God calls them to be. They feel pressure to pick a major, a career path with a certainty that once this decision is made and embraced, life will fall into place. This myth appeals to me even 15 years removed from college. If I just pick a career, a partner, a cause, I’ll know who I am and what my life is about.
But this line of thinking is a lie, an idol even. At baptism, the whole church celebrates as we receive our true identity through water and Word by the power of the Holy Spirit: we are a child of God. No matter how many times we change our major, our job, or neighborhood, we are a child of God. No matter how many times we change our style, the car we drive, or our hobbies, we are a child of God!
And one of the exciting parts of being a child of God, is that we know whose we are and the life God calls us to lead—one rooted in sacraments, Scripture, and community through which we embody love, justice, and healing to ourselves, our neighbors, and all creation.
And one of the exciting parts of being a child of God steeped in Lutheran theology is how we affirm that in any vocation we are called to proclaim the good news! Whether you’re a student or teacher, auto mechanic or data analyst, homemaker or farmer, God wants you to share the good news and a prophetic word! It might feel uncomfortable. Folks might look at you funny, but when the Lord calls you to go and prophesy, I hope you respond like Amos:
“I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a parent and a teacher…and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people’”(vv14-15).
Pastor Jennifer M. Manis is a lifelong Lutheran and a ruff Raleigh dog mom. She cares deeply about the intersection of racial justice, trauma, Health at Every Size, and Christian theology. She’s slowly learning Norwegian and believes each day needs Jesus, coffee, and music.
1. Amos confronts Israel with how they have turned from God and doesn’t back down when confronted by the king’s priest. What gives you courage to speak a hard truth?
2. How is God calling you and your faith community to work for justice and peace?
God who calls us, you speak and we strive to listen. Root us in our calling as your child. Empower us with an abundance of the Holy Spirit. Equip us with the faith of Christ to live out and speak your word. Amen.