This is what the Lord God showed me—a basket of summer fruit. 2He said, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the Lord said to me, The end has come upon my people Israel; I will never again pass them by. 3The songs of the temple shall become wailings in that day,” says the Lord God; “the dead bodies shall be many, cast out in every place. Be silent!” 4Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land, 5saying, “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, 6buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat.” 7The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Surely I will never forget any of their deeds. 8Shall not the land tremble on this account, and everyone mourn who lives in it, and all of it rise like the Nile, and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt? 9On that day, says the Lord God, I will make the sun go down at noon, and darken the earth in broad daylight. 10I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth on all loins, and baldness on every head; I will make it like the mourning for an only son, and the end of it like a bitter day.
The harvest here in NJ has begun to change from early summer greens of kale, swiss chard and collards. I belong to a CSA (community supported agriculture) and in my box this week was summer squash, cucumbers and the first two tomatoes of the summer - one green and one red. It's time to buy blueberries and freeze them for the winter. In two week's time, we'll have melons and eggplant, peppers and peaches. What do I see? Summer's harvest.
What else do I see? Houses selling for more. The Dow on the rise.
What else? A woman without healthcare in need of mental health medication. A couple without healthcare in need of counseling. Another family broken and suffering.
What else? A man out of work unwilling to approach the welfare office and yet facing power and water shut off notices.
What else? A wealthy family spending everything they have to overcome sickness and keep their family together.
What else? I see the mourning of the African American people in light of the jury's verdict for George Zimmerman.
I see the Egyptian government seizing assets of the leaders of the Muslim brotherhood while Muslims everywhere begin their holiest, most communal celebration, Ramadan.
I see Civil war in Syria.
All the while, I focus on my summer harvest - feeding my family and enjoying my air conditioning. I live with extreme wealth, certain comfort and reliable safety. What do I see? I see harvest for some but not for all. I see riches and certainty and safety juxtaposed to poverty, sickness and unrest.
My world is not unlike Amos' world. And to Amos' world, God said, "I will turn your feasts into mourning, your songs into lamentations... I will send a famine. Not for bread or water but for the word of the Lord. You will search and search but you will not find it."
What do I see? Harvest for some but not for all.
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