Thursday, 27 March 2014

Glimpses of Glory in Lent - Day 23 'I hate, I despise your festivals'

I hate, I despise your festivals,
and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. 
(Amos 5:21)

Hate is such a strong word, such an emotive word. It is a word that makes me recoil. It is a word that shocks. It is a word that is not to be used lightly.

Yet here, in scripture; here in the prophecy of Amos hatred is attributed to God.
How can God hate festivals and solemn assemblies?
How can God refuse to accept the offerings of the people?
How can God refuse to listen to songs and the melody of the harp in worship?

These verses (Amos 5:21-23) are shocking.This is not what we expect God to say about worship and religious festival.

God takes no delight in these things, God hates and despises them because they have become empty ritual. They are empty because justice and righteousness have been forgotten. They are empty because they are rituals performed by people who despise others, who treat them as less than human, who allow them to go hungry in a land of plenty.

Let justice flow down like waters
and righteousness like an everlasting stream
(Amos 5:24)

Perhaps we too need to be shocked by the recognition that when we turn away from righteousness, we turn away from God.
Perhaps we too need to be shocked by the recognition that injustice and the neglect of those who are hungry and in need, is unacceptable to God.

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