Amos 7:7-8 “This is what he showed me: behold, the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. 8And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.””
We kick off the weekend every Friday night with homemade pizza and a movie. Last Friday we watched The Lorax, a cautionary tale about the environment and how we interact with it and each other.
The Lorax is a creature who speaks for the trees. He has a conversation with a man who sees trees as a resource, not as living creatures with stories of their own to tell. The man sees the trees as a commodity he can use to make a highly desirable product; when his family shows up, excited by the prospect that he can get very, very rich off this product, the Lorax asks the man a simple question with an actual answer worthy of Amos (or Jesus):
The Lorax: Which way does a tree fall?
The Once-ler: Uh, down?
The Lorax: A tree falls the way it leans. Be careful which way you lean.
In Lorax-speak, we’re all trees, with plumb lines running right down our spines. Are you standing straight and tall, or leaning? Don’t gauge the angle of your tilt by whether or not all the trees around you lean the same way; living in a forest of leaning trees means we’re firmly rooted in our culture and letting our institutions sin for us, not that we’re plumb. Gravity anchors a plumb line, roots anchor trees. What anchors you? Are your roots found in the dark quiet of prayer and thoughtful action, or the more shallow topsoil of culture, appearance, and commodities?
Swaying is inevitable. Storms come, bringing high winds and lashing rain. Earthquakes shake plumb-straight walls; everything from familial pressure to keeping up with the Joneses transforms nourishing soil to unstable sand, but gravity remains, and so does God as the zenith, the fixed point from which the plumb line hangs. Between gravity and the zenith, we can choose whether to correct the way we lean, or to lean until we fall.