January 26, 2019
This picture by itself might just speak those thousand words - it’s Boomer in his happy place. By the fire.
“Even though you offer me your burnt-offerings and grain-offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Did you bring to me sacrifices and offerings the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?” (Amos 5:22–25)
Worship is worthless... if it is not accompanied by earnest words and genuine acts of justice.
Worship is worthless... if we present our religious sacrifices week after week while allowing others around us to continue to be sacrificed on the altars of greed and power and prejudice.
Worship is worthless... if we close our eyes and ears and hearts to the poor, the oppressed, and the helpless.
This is what the prophet Amos was talking about when he shared God’s warning to the religious people of his time: “Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them.”
This is what the writer of First John 4:20 was talking about when he challenged some of the earliest members of the Jesus Movement: “For those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen cannot love God whom they have not seen.”
This is what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was talking about when he proclaimed, “No, no, we are not satisfied, and will not be satisfied, until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
Worship – our worship – is only truly good, truly worthy, when we choose to do what Paul urged the Christians in Rome to do: “to present our bodies as a living sacrifice.” These hands we use to worship are heaven-sent. In the words attributed to Teresa of Avila: “Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours; yours are the hands with which he blesses all the world.”
This is true religion. This is worship worthy of our loving, liberating, and life-giving God.
Let us pray: O God of justice and compassion, by your Spirit help us who dare to follow Jesus to see you in the faces of all those we meet, and to respond faithfully. Through Jesus Christ our Savior, who came not to be served, but to serve. Amen.
8 years ago I woke up knowing today would be the day I’d become a momma and my biggest life dream would come true. Simon Hunter you have changed my world. You are smart, witty, patient, dedicated and caring. You have one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever seen. You love all things Pokémon and music. You love God and church. You are an amazing big brother. And it seems like you never sleep. I’m so lucky that God chose me to be your earthly momma. Every single day you amaze me and teach me new things. I can’t wait to see where the world takes you! (Right now to be an engineer and a church organist!) Happy Birthday Bug! I love you so!
Gracious God, help us share your love. Amen.
Almighty and Loving God, thank you for all the gifts you give to your creation. Water, air, land, creatures, love, relationship, food, shelter, forgiveness…the list goes on and on. But on this eve of the celebration of the birth of Jesus, thank you for the gift of Light. The Light of the World, Jesus the Christ, is the greatest and most mysterious gift of all. Open our eyes and hearts to this amazing gift and what he has to teach us. Amen.