Revised Common Lectionary. Comments and questions are intended to encourage reflection for readers preparing to teach, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged. All lectionary links are to the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website, but if you prefer another translation, feel free to use that instead. (Other references are linked to the NRSV via the oremus Bible Browser.)
v. 1 Last week it was a plumb line. This week is a basket of summer fruit. Exactly what fruit would have been in that basket? How, in what way, is this symbolic of the pronouncement that follows? From what follows, I think the fruit should have been rotten. This sounds to me like a pronouncement of judgment upon those of the business and entrepreneurial class who place business interests and profit above the needs of the people and society. Did Amos have Wall Street in mind?
vs. 11-12 I cannot help but read this in light of the New Testament, which equates “the word” with “the bread of life”. From a Christian perspective, of what use is physical bread if we do not also have spiritual bread?
A psalm of judgment upon the same people Amos preaches against, or am I reading Amos in light of this Psalm?
v. 8 What is it like to be a green olive tree in the house of God? What is the central and controlling image here, that the olive tree is green? That the tree is an olive tree? That the tree is in the house of God? I would rather be an old, dried up tree of any kind in the house of God rather than being a green tree of any variety not in the house of God. But could any tree in the house of God not be green?
vs. 15-21 I have not checked any reference, but I think this is probably an ancient hymn or fragment of a hymn. It certainly reads and sounds confessional.
v. 23 Does “provided” suggest that salvation is provisional? How has the Gospel been proclaimed to “every creature” under heaven? How does this verse inform a Christian understanding of environmentalism?
vs. 22 & 24 How does Christ’s “flesh” in v. 22 correlate to Paul’s “flesh” in v. 24? Is there any theological connection?
This has got to be one of the shortest Gospel Readings in the lectionary. I wonder why it is so short?
I have heard this passage interpreted in terms of the contrast between extrovert and introvert as well as kataphatic and apophatic, not to mention works righteousness and salvation by grace through faith. How can we read it without being influenced by other Gospel references to Mary and Martha, not to mention Lazarus?
vs. 40-41 In what ways are we distracted? How do we allow our worries distract us from listening to what Jesus is saying?
This is off topic, but if you are looking for reflections from and about the 219th General Assembly of the PC(USA), here a link to my blog post, just one of several about the GA, but one that includes hot links to several othere blogs which also reflect on the GA.