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Worship for Justice 3

June 30, 2005

I didn’t make it to W4J this week, but it made it to me. Worship and justice came in the form of an old Hebrew prophet named Amos. With coarse language and uncivilized demeanor, he rages against the hypocrisy he sees all around him.

How terrible it will be for you who say, “If only the day of the LORD were here! For then the LORD would rescue us from all our enemies.”
But you have no idea what you are wishing for. That day will not bring light and prosperity, but darkness and disaster. In that day you will be like a man who runs from a lion – only to meet a bear. After escaping the bear, he leans his hand against a wall in his house – and is bitten by a snake. Yes, the day of the LORD will be a dark and hopeless day, without a ray of joy or hope.
“I hate all your show and pretense – the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings. Away with your hymns of praise! They are only noise to my ears. I will not listen to your music, no matter how lovely it is.
“Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, a river of righteous living that will never run dry.”

…Listen to this, you who rob the poor and trample the needy! You can’t wait for the Sabbath day to be over and the religious festivals to end so you can get back to cheating the helpless. You measure out your grain in false measures and weigh it out on dishonest scales. And you mix the wheat you sell with chaff swept from the floor! Then you enslave poor people for a debt of one piece of silver or a pair of sandals.
Now the LORD has sworn this oath by his own name, the Pride of Israel: “I will never forget the wicked things you have done! …

Scary stuff. Which leaves an awful question: in God’s eyes, am I oppressed, or am I an oppressor?

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