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A measure or fruit?

The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand... “The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer." Amos 7.7 & 8.2

Prophets love a striking image and Amos takes recourse to two in these middle chapters of his prophecy: a plumb-line and a basket of ripe fruit. Both are interpreted as signs of God's impending judgment. Why two? Possibly for emphasis but Amos may also be drawing attention both to his people's failure to measure up to the standards of integrity and lifestyle which God demands (plumb-line) and their having passed the point of repentance (ripe fruit).

In the Prayer of Absolution we ask of God "time for amendment of life". This is significant because it reminds us that we have work to do in order to be ready to meet our maker, who is also our judge and redeemer. This is not to say that we must, or even can, earn our own salvation. We cannot... yet there is a way: God offers himself, in the person of Jesus, as the unique and all-sufficient sacrifice which atones for the sin of the world - and that includes your sin and mine.

But will we avail ourselves - or risk our certain failure to measure up, thereby casting ourselves into that basket of fruit, ripe for consuming in judgment?



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