I loathe, I spurn your festivals,
I am not appeased by your solemn assemblies.
If you offer Me burnt offerings–or your meal offerings–
I will not accept them;
I will pay no heed
To your gifts of fatlings.
Spare Me the sound of your hymns,
And let me not hear the music of your lutes.
But let justice well up like water,
Righteousness like an unfailing stream.
Sometimes we are so comfortable sitting in our pews singing our songs, praying our prayers, and hearing our “good” sermons. While we are in the comfort of our worship a whole world hurts, in need of good news.
Imagine if a stranger came into our midst and called us on our pious hypocrisy? Would we listen?
I’m sure it was not easy to hear. After all worship is part of our call as people of faith. It is important that we worship, in our praise to almighty God we are continually transformed as God’s people for the life of the world.
So the problem is not worship but using worship as an excuse not to respond to the needs of the world. When worship becomes a tool of isolation and empty piety.
I’m afraid this can happen in our churches without our realizing it. Little by little our community becomes self-centered, we become comfortable with each other, and become resistant to what is happening outside our walls. Without any structure to call us back to our mission, soon we convince ourselves that the maintenance of our rituals is the reason why we exist.
The prophet calls all of us to our task. Stop singing, stop praising, stop gathering, remember why you are here to begin with!