I have been noticing an increase in traffic to my blog over the past week, and I’m supposing that it might be driven by readers of the Adult Bible Studies Sunday School curriculum.

For those unfamiliar with this series, it is a United Methodist curriculum for adult Sunday school classes, based on the scripture selections of the Uniform Series. This summer, the theme is the prophets (beginning in June with Amos.) And I wrote the student booklet for the summer quarter. In the “Meet the Writer” section, at the end of a brief bio, this blog’s address is printed.

So – if you are here for the first time because you saw my blog address in your Sunday school book, and you were curious – welcome!

From time to time I will be posting things here that might be helpful to teachers preparing these Sunday school lessons, but I hope that they will prove to be of general interest as well. Like my post earlier today about sycamore figs. Enjoy!

A dresser of sycamore trees

Tonight, people from hundreds of churches across the United States are brushing up on the prophet Amos, whose eponymous Biblical book is the subject of a series of Sunday school lessons for the month of June. Amos describes himself: “I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore trees.” (Amos 7:14, NRSV) But how could a person’s job be tending sycamore trees?

“Sycamore tree” means something very different in Africa and the Arabian peninsula than it does in the United States! People living in the U.S. probably think of the American Sycamore when they hear the word “Sycamore” – but the sycamore tree of the Bible is a fruit tree!

If you want to know more about the sort of tree that Amos tended, click here for a brief article about the Sycamore Fig, which includes some lovely photographs and a (short) embedded YouTube video. Many thanks to Woody Davis, a Sunday school teacher in Mississippi, who found this article when preparing for tomorrow’s class, and shared it with me.

If you are studying the UMC Adult Bible Studies series this summer, and you find something you’d like to share, let me know! Maybe (with your permission) it will end up being shared in this space.