Skip to main content


Showing posts from September, 2019

Listening at the Gate

September 29, 2019
Amos 6:1a, 4-7; Luke 16:19-31
First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL
Christina Berry

Amos was concerned that the economic system of Israel in his time was not what biblical law envisioned. The Jubilee legislation in Leviticus 25, for instance, mandated a system whereby no one could accumulate too much wealth and where every family had land to support themselves. Even if they had to sell their land because of illness or drought, they got it back in the Jubilee year. Amos’s judgment is harsh, but some 40 years after Amos prophesied, Assyria conquered Israel and took them into exile. Amos chastises those who say economic inequality is just “the way the world is,” and he criticizes strongly those who are idle rich while the poor struggle just to survive.

Let’s listen for God’s word to us in Amos 6:1a, 4-7:

Alas for those who are at ease in Zion,
and for those who feel secure on Mount Samaria.
Alas for those who lie on beds of ivory, and lounge on their couches,
and eat…


September 22, 2019
Amos 8:4-7; Luke 16:1-13
First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL
Christina Berry

The prophet Amos was active in Israel during the 8th century BCE. His major themes were social justice, God's omnipotence, and divine judgment. Amos wrote at a time of relative peace and prosperity in Israel, but it was also a time when Israelites were neglecting God’s laws. They were not being faithful to the covenant. Amos spoke out against a widening gap between the very wealthy and the very poor. Let’s listen for God’s word to us in the challenging words of Amos 8:4-7

Hear this, you that trample on the needy,
and bring to ruin the poor of the land,
saying, "When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain;
and the sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale?
We will make the ephah small and the shekel great,
and practice deceit with false balances,
buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals,
and selling the sweepings of the wheat."
The LOR…


Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28; Luke 15:1-10
September 15, 2019
First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL
Christina Berry

The prophet Jeremiah was called to a hard and heavy task: to call God’s people to repentance, and to preach to them the hard message of their failures. Jeremiah was a great preacher, but he was not a popular preacher. He frequently was in conflicts with false prophets, with political and religious leaders, with kings, and even with God.

This passage was described by one scholar as a “dangerous poem.” In a poetic parallel with Genesis chapter one, it imagines God “uncreating” the world: the breath of God returns the earth to the waste and void, takes away the light, shakes the mountains and hills, and lays waste to all that once was. It seems that all there is to do is weep in the darkness. Let’s listen for God’s word to us in the words of the prophet Jeremiah, in Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28

At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem:
A hot wind comes from me ou…