Clean Hands and Pure Heart (Seventh Sunday After Pentecost)

I am not a prophet nor
A prophet’s son. I am a herdsman
And I dress the bowers of
The sycamore. The Lord called to me
With His plumb-line
And He said, “Amos, hold this
Plumb-line against my people Israel.
No more will I pass them by.”
“Who may ascend the hill of God?”
We asked, and danced before the ark.
“He who has clean hands and pure heart;
Who lifts his heart not to idols.”
We danced and danced, for now His presence
Was among us; we could sing.
And from the window, Michal watched me,
And despised me in her heart.
From my flocks and sycamores,
The Lord called to me: “Speak to my
People Israel. No more will I
Pass them by. I will break down
Their high places and sanctuaries.”
The people saw me raise the plumb-line,
Told me to prophesy elsewhere.
“I’m not a prophet,” I said to them.
“Nor am I a prophet’s son…”
And Herod heard of miracles
Such as he’d not heard before
.And the people said, “Elijah
Has come back to us from heaven.”
But Herod said, “No, it is
John the Baptist whom I have killed.
He has come back from the dead.”
For Herod had a guilty heart.
The earth is the Lord’s and all within it,
Its people and its flocks and fields,
Its sycamores and its herdsmen,
Its dancers and the songs they sing.
“Who may ascend to the Lord’s hill?”
We sang and called out to Him.
“Only he who has pure heart,”
Came the stern and firm reply.
For the dancer had pleased Herod.
“Tell me what you wish for,” he said.
Her mother gave her this reply:
“Bring John’s head upon a platter.”
For King Herod and the queen
Despised John within their hearts
And silenced him and the plumb-line
That he held up to their house.
Lift up your heads, O doors and gates,
Let the king of glory in.
“Who is this king of glory?” we ask.
“He who owns the world and all
Within it. He is the king of glory.”
And David danced before his King
But Queen Michal despised him in
Her heart that day as she watched him.
“Who may ascend to the Lord’s holy hill?”
“He who has clean hands and pure heart…”

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