Christopher S. Swan’s dramatic manuscript of Amos is a wonderful opportunity to dive into a fictionalized version of an often overlooked Old Testament book.
As I read, I envisioned what the staging could look like–a dark stage at times, a well-lit one as workers harvest olives on Amos’ farmland.
The play would be well served with a multi-media approach as some scenes would work better with a closer view for the audience than the stage can allow.
Even so, an apt narrator could provide the details and still allow a stage dramatization to bring Amos’ story to life.
Yet, a play isn’t always a work that requires actors, sets, and a stage. This work is a great read too. Swan does a terrific job helping you imagine the action–which at times is very suspenseful.
Amos and God’s angels do battle against bandits and pagan forces determined to keep the newly commissioned prophet from his sacred mission–presenting God’s message to His rebellious people.
But along with literary tension come moments of peace and the simple work that defined most of Amos’ life. Swan provides cultural insights and historical detail in many of these quieter vignettes.
“Next to Amos is Tab, his youngest son at 7-years-old. He watches his father’s every move in silence. Listens to his father breathe as he works.
“Amos reaches down into a shallow wood box next to Tab’s sandaled feet. Pulls out a long cube of animal fat. Sets it on top of the baking powder. The cube of fat melts within seconds, seeping into the ochre powder, thickening it.
“Tab’s eyes widen. He looks back at his father, who lays four more long fat cubes down across the mound of rust-red powder. Tab watches the cubes melt in succession. He smiles at the satisfying sight.”
Swan has crafted engaging characters in Amos, his family, those who help him in his quest to deliver the message God has given him, and those representing evil forces seeking to kill Amos and end his mission.
Whether you’re looking for a good summer read–or an anytime read–or seeking out a drama for your church or group to enact, this work brings scripture alive, often tying New Testament grace to Old Testament storytelling and prophecy.
Amos, by Christopher S. Swan is worth your time and attention.