FOR TODAY Read Amos 9:13-15. The time is surely coming, says the Lord, when the one who plows shall overtake the one who reaps, and the treader of grapes the one who sows the seed; the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it. I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant them upon their land, and they shall never again be plucked up out of the land that I have given them, says the Lord your God. In a cursory search of the Bible, the word “restore” is found most often in one of the books of the prophets. That is not a surprise. In general, the prophets are God’s checks and balances against the powers and principalities of their time. And their message is often associated with their God-given identity as the people of God: Remember who you are; watch out; repent and return; don’t forget. And once these earlier messages are ignored, there is a message of hope such as the one we just heard from the prophet Amos. The restoration of an object such as a piece of furniture or a painting involves the painstaking work of cleaning and stripping away the grime. This initial work often exposes underlying flaws and failings in the object that must be tended to before the piece can be fully restored to its original beauty. This is also true in the work of spiritual restoration. The prophets seek to clean and strip away the grime, so to speak, and expose the underlying failings and missteps of the people. Such work is necessary in order to then begin to return to their God-given identity and purpose. FOR FURTHER REFLECTION Thinking back to your list from yesterday's devotional, what are the initial steps of cleaning and stripping away that is needed in your life? What will you risk in naming and even revealing those flaws and imperfections in your own soul?
RESTORE This fourth week focuses on the word restore. No one expected 2020. Our country has been driven apart by a virus, ravaged by storms and fires, divided by protests and riots, and ripped asunder by the demands of an election. All of this has affected us. Our hearts are heavy, our minds are confused, our souls are weary, and our society has been fractured. WIFI connections have disconnected us and left us in isolated pods. And yet, amid the chaos sounds our mission "to restore all people to unity with God and each other.” Our catechism goes on to ask two more questions about the mission of restoration. Find all previous daily devotionals here