The Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line held in hand. And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” – Amos 7:7-8 (NRSV)
On June 24, 2021, in the midst of a persistent global pandemic, at around half-past one in the morning, sleeping residents were awakened by loud sounds, shaking walls and floors, and imminent disaster. Some heard the sounds and evacuated immediately. Others called loved ones for help. A few reached out to security.
They didn’t know that they did not have much time.
And then the south tower came down, there in Surfside, FL.
As a New Yorker, and just as a lover of humanity, this collapse hit me so. Hard. It took me to our towers. It had me asking questions that hurt.
Because when walls come tumbling down, we have to ask questions that hurt.
When walls come tumbling down – whether intentionally or accidentally – there’s more to the story that we need to know.
Amos – a dresser of sycamore trees, the tender to flocks, the unprofessional prophesier called to prophesy in a sea of frauds – was asking the questions. He was a seer unprepared to see. But he had to do something about what he was learning. And it was clear that God had put him up to this.
If no one else will see, God must intervene.
In his prophecy, Amos made some bold proclamations: There is a wall, God says. A wall that was originally built with a plumb line. But due to neglect – or possibly even outright assault – it was warped.
God saw the danger. God sent signs, warnings. It wasn’t enough.
The structure would. Not. Hold. Will we?
May justice and righteousness be our plumb lines. Amen.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.