Amos Will Lead us From Fear to Hope this Lenten Season

light shines through
Photo of original artwork by Rachael Keefe ©2024 depicting an oil on canvas painting of ocean waves at night, with light coming from a lighthouse.

Journey with us this Lent from fear to hope and discover safe harbor.

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Our journey toward Jerusalem has begun. Our theme this year is “From Fear to Hope” and we are using the Prophet Amos as our guide. Throughout Lent, we will explore different fears and seek the hope that God’s light and love brings.

Amos may seem an unusual choice for Lent and it probably is. However, we have a lot to learn from what Amos had to say. Amos preached in the later 700s BCE at a time when Israel and Judah ruled themselves, during a time of prosperity.

The rulers and the wealthy of the nation had convinced themselves that their wealth was a sign of God’s blessing and that the poor were undeserving. They had abandoned God’s ways in favor of increasing their own wealth. Amos indicates that even their religious rituals had become empty, performative.

Amos had the unfortunate task of telling the people that God was going to destroy Israel because they had neglected to care for the vulnerable among them. No one really believed Amos, even though the Assyrian army was getting nearer all the time. Those in power believed God was with them and that the Prophet was making things up.

Much of what Amos describes as the sins of the people of Israel are the kinds of things we struggle with today. This is why Amos is our guide this year. You may recognize some familiar feelings and situations in the coming weeks.

Our primary image for the season is a lighthouse in a storm because we want to remember that there is always hope, there is always a light in the storm. You can get a lighthouse coin to carry with you throughout the season if you have not already. It’s important to remember that we are taking this journey from fear to hope as a community; no one goes it alone.

If you would like to engage in additional spiritual practices during Lent, there will be a suggestion here each week. For this week, spend some time reflecting on when you are lonely and when you find community. You can do this any way you like. Here are some suggestions:

  • Journal about a lonely time and a time when you felt part of a community. What helped you move from one to the other? Was any of it sacred?
  • Meditate on the light of a candle. Ask yourself what light has guided you from loneliness to community in the past? What light guides you today?
  • Take a walk outside. Notice how you feel. Are you connected to your surroundings or are you feeling separate? Do you recognize the presence of God in yourself, others you encounter, or in nature?
  • Spend some time engaging in something creative with loneliness/community in mind. What results? What did you notice while you were creating?

May this journey through Lent bring much hope and release you from the grip of fear.

Sanctuary set for Lent
Three images showing Living Table sanctuary set up for Lent. Images courtesy of Rachael Keefe.

About Rachael Keefe

Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe is the pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ. She was called to Living Table in 2015 after serving in many varied ministry settings since her ordination in 1992. She holds graduate degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Andover Newton Seminary at Yale (formerly Andover Newton Theological School). Her ministry and leadership often center around advocacy and accessibility. Her writing has been published by Chalice Press, The Christian Century, Red Letter Christians, Working Preacher, RevGalBlogPals, and others. She is grateful to be in ministry with Living Table today.

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