Bringing the Text to Life

The Worst of Years Amos 7:7-17

The Worst of Years

How can we turn a bad year into a good one?


The question is: What year was the worst year ever to be alive? Historians have an answer to this question. The prophet Amos also has some ideas. This leads to a discussion of what we can do to ensure that our lives are full of goodness and meaning.



For material based on today’s epistle text, see “Cut Flower Church,” July 15, 2001.

For an alternative idea pertaining to Luke 10:25-37, see “The Kindness Contagion.”


“A foreboding cloud of black ash blocks out the sun from Europe to Asia. An outbreak of bubonic plague coincides with a piercing cold snap. Crops fail. Starvation, darkness and squalor abound.”

That’s the opening paragraph of an article last year declaring that in the history of humankind, the year 536 was the worst year to be alive in the Northern Hemisphere, according to research by a group of history and climate specialists.

Or as Harvard history professor Michael...

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