February 4

Isaiah 58:3-9a

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?” vs. 6

We humans are drawn to the trappings of religion and the intricate rituals that have become interwoven with our worship. We decorate our altars and sanctuaries with fine linens, valuable chalices, and beautiful paraments of many colors. Week after week we say the words and sing the songs and imagine that we are pleasing God. Sometimes we even engage in periodic fasting and meditation. If Isaiah is right the Lord of the Universe is not interested in such things. It’s only the gods of our own creation that are mollified and pleased with our posturing and personal piety. Isaiah tells us that the One God is all about freedom and justice, and providing for the poor and the hungry–and that’s it! Sometimes it’s hard to hear such words from the prophet because we really do enjoy the Sunday morning worship experience. Some would even say that this is where they have their spiritual highs for the week. And there are blessings that come to us through our rituals and traditional practices–that’s not to be doubted. But the moment we get infatuated with our fine words and clever theologies it would be good for us to take pause and be reminded about those things that are really important. Worship is pointless unless it results in renewed dedication to doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with our God. 

Thought for the Day: If doing justice is most important, why should we even worship?

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