Children Sermon: Amos’ Tools (Amos 7:7-15)
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: 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:
A plumb line,
God’s plumb line
makes us upright, sound, and fine.
to be equal and fair,
We work for justice everywhere.
Measure for measure,
We share the Gospel treasure.
A chalk line,
God’s chalk line,
Jesus is going to make us shine.
our mission true,
with love and forgiveness for me and you.
 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?