Author: J. Ronald Blue
Week of September 25, 2016
I would much rather sit in a pew next to a monotone who makes every attempt to sing with meaning and enthusiasm than with a trained vocalist who seems totally oblivious to the words being sung. I am usually more blessed by hearing a brand new believer talk to the Lord in a broken, honest way than I am by the high-sounding phrases of a professional cleric. Why does so much of what we do in church today seem routine and unrelated to life? I do not favor mediocrity, but I would plead for more reality.
Amos had some shocking words from God to those engaged in a religious routine. “I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring Me burnt offerings..., I will not accept them...Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps” (Amos 5:21-23). These people seemed to be doing all the right things. They prayed. They gave. They sang. But to no avail. They were not rightly related to the One to whom they were praying, giving, and singing.
The religious exercise was all a show. Real life centered in the ease and security of vacation resorts, banquets, and soothing music at home, plus arrogant activity at work (Amos 6). All their “God talk” was reserved for the ritual carried on in their religious gatherings.
Could we be guilty of the same error? Do we simply give God dominion for an hour on Sundays? Are we involved in evangelical ritual that soothes the conscience? Has church turned into some kind of “Protestant mass” to fulfill an obligation instilled in us by our parents? Are our hymns only noisy songs in God’s ears?
Act on this: Vow right now to make your worship real. Turn from religious routine to a vibrant, meaningful relationship with the living Lord.