Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏹️

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For they know not to do right, saith the Lord, who store up violence and robbery in their palaces.
Amos 3:10

We live in a culture of accumulation. Our possessions are our outward sign of success, and the more we have to display the more respect (we believe) we are given. Our worth, it seems, is measured in units of ownership. The more we own the more valuable we are. What is easy to forget is how the things we buy became made in the first place. Natural resources were destroyed, forests obliterated and wildlife starved to get the rare wood for that new dining table. The earth is churned up and stripped of nutrients to take the minerals needed for our electronic gadgets. Great deserts are forming across our planet, places where nothing can grow now. People are worked to the bone, mistreated and paid starvation wages to keep the cost of our luxury items low enough that we may accumulate more. Indigenous land is stolen from families to mine for fuel to drive the machinery of consumption. At every stage of the supply chain we find exactly what Amos pointed out almost three thousand years ago: violence and robbery. If we take a spiritual x-ray of our possessions, this is exactly what we will see.

Amos confronts the Israelites with a different way to see the beauty of their homes, reminding them of the sins committed to make them the way they are, challenging them to reconsider their current values and behaviour—and by writing this down, confronting us, today, also. We cannot do right in the world, says Amos, while our very lives are concerned with storing up the fruits of violence and despair.