peter krey's web site

scholarship, sermons, songs, poems, weblog writing on

Children Sermon: Amos’ Tools (Amos 7:7-15)

with 5 comments

Children’s Sermon: Taking a plumb line out of a cloth bag filled with tools: “What do you see?”

Children: “A plumb line.” Taking a board and slanting it: “See how the plumb line is straight and the board is not? If a wall or a house is not upright, it will fall down. And if we are not upright, if we cheat or lie, we will also fall down. Herod’s Kingdom was not right and it had to come to an end. But the House of God will stand forever.”

Taking a level out of the bag: “What do you see?”

Children or adult from the congregation: “A level.”

“It’s a lot like the plumb line. But you have to hold it to the board and see if it is straight or slanted, if it is completely horizontal or not.” Hold the board horizontally and slowly let the children see it become level. “You have to watch the bubble go right between the lines. The level reminds us that we have to be fair and that all people are equal. We should play no favorites when it comes to what’s right.”

Pulling a ruler out of the bag: “What do you see?”

They answered: “A straight edge. A yardstick. A ruler.”

“Now this helps us measure things and Amos would ask, ‘Do we measure up? We want to honest and good.”

The chalk line:[1] Putting chalk on some string, we did it on the string of the plumb line: “This is a chalk line. Some one can make lines across a whole floor with it. even longer lines, too.” (We let the children snap the chalk  line and it printed a straight line on the board. We used purple chalk to make the line stand out.)

Marshall, who helped with the children sermon, said, “Now we use lasers to make lines like that. But chalk lines were used back in the time of the ancient Egyptians when they measured out and built the pyramids!”

Let me sing you a song about Amos’ tools:

Amos’ Tools

A plumb line,

God’s plumb line

makes us upright, sound, and fine.

A level,

God’s level,

to be equal and fair,

We work for justice everywhere.

A ruler,

God’s ruler,

Measure for measure,

We share the Gospel treasure.

A chalk line,

God’s chalk line,

Jesus is going to make us shine.

We’re workers,

God’s workers,

our mission true,

with love and forgiveness for me and you.

Pkrey 07/12/2009

[1] The English text in Amos says that the Hebrew word translated as “plumb line” is uncertain, because this is the only time the word comes up in scripture. (The technical term for such a word is hapax legomena for those of you who study exegesis.) So I turned to the text in German, to see how Luther translated it and he has “chalk line.” Marshall’s comment makes that choice of tools plausible. How far back does a plumb line go? Has anyone ever written a history of tools?


Written by peterkrey

July 13, 2009 at 6:13 am

5 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Thank you for posting this. I knew I wanted to teach the kids about the plumbline in Amos when I read it recently and finally understood it! (measuring up to G-d’s plumbline). Thank you for listing the tools that I need. Shalom and Blessings on you.

    cheryl welch

    November 3, 2012 at 6:44 pm

  2. […] Children Sermon: Amos’ Tools (Amos 7:7-15) […]

    • Luther’s translation of the Bible uses the word Bleilot for plumbline. A Bleilot is not a chalkline. It is….a plumbline. Blei in German means lead and not chalk.

      Chad Simpson

      March 6, 2014 at 7:02 am

      • dear Chad,

        Thank you for the correction. I’ll be using this text again Sunday and it helps when I’m more accurate. But when the lead plumb line hangs down and the cord it hangs from is chalked and snapped, then it draws a vertical line like a chalk line.



        July 8, 2015 at 6:24 pm

  3. What tune do you use for the song about Amos’s tools?


    July 9, 2015 at 1:33 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: