They named him for their faith, defiantly.
|A boy,||a firstborn, a covenant son whose splatter of blood from his little foreskin marked the dusty floor of their home as a reminder of a land promised to the faithful.|
|It was hard these days. Trade routes over their northern hills had brought increasing persuasion of the power of Baal. The land needed rain, and this new breed of priests promised much if Baal was pleased.|
|The dark||days came. But they were not quite what had been expected. They were beautiful. The queen saw to that.|
|Rich paraphernalia of priesthood led the crowds up the processional way to inaugurate the new temple, and Amos wept. The streets of Samaria rang with shouts of the military commanders as their men marched to invest the temple of the Lord of Prosperity and Power with the dignity and awe a royal religion deserved.|
|The crowds hushed as the marchers came to a stop before the high altar. The silence was broken only by the sound of frightened animals as the knives of the priests did their work. Amos looked at the sky and knew it was time to leave.|
His first born was his gift from God and he would rather die than become part of this priestly programme of prosperity.
|They left the house empty behind them: their possessions shared between two donkeys with a third carrying the precious burden of his wife and child. The road ahead was rough but they would find a way, and God would help.|
|So,||the family became one of the toshab of Gilead: neither citizens nor footloose wanderers, but temporary dwellers waiting, waiting, waiting for the time to return.|
With others who had fled the perversity of Sidon that had infested their nation, they shared their grief and their longing.
In late night gatherings they sang the songs of David and waited.
|Their son grew and gave them gladness. No promise of prosperity for their lands could ever have compensated for their baby’s blood upon the knife of Baal’s high priest. The boy belonged to God.|
|Years||passed after the death of Amos without any prospect of return. The boy was a man, but different.|
|Perhaps it was the dream of his father. Perhaps it was the ever undefined ache in the heart of both his parents. But something kept him aside from the usual ambitions of the young men around him. The wild of the country was his safe place. Far from village sounds, his heart cried without words for answers that never seemed to come. Perhaps his parents’ unresolved loss of home and lands, more: the loss of their part in a covenant land with their God had laid this unsettling sense of the unfinished deep within him.|
|Then it||came. It was more than a voice. The presence overwhelmed. He trembled at its authority and prostrated himself. He had been heard and he waited. It was not the place that moved him, even though he had sought it out. His father had told him of Jacob’s anguished wrestling with the angel of God who change his name. And he had hoped that perhaps here he could find answers to his life also. It was the second night that he had been there, wrapped in his cloak, sleeping between bouts of praying.|
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