18 January 2006

What Didn't Happen On Sunday ...

So ... here's the thing. The post below (What Happened On Sunday) describes our church service this past Sunday. But what happened on Sunday was only about a third of what I planned. Now I've been known to bite off more than I can chew before, but I usually don't overdo it by that much. However ... when the Spirit moves, you need to get out of the way.

Here's a little of what we didn't do. We did talk about what Amos would have had to say to our nation (from a racial perspective). I admit there are many perspectives I could have chosen and I chose race because of the date. We didn't talk about what Amos would have had to say to the body of Christ in North America. That's the second third of what I wanted to do. The third third was meant for our church body alone and hopefully one day we'll get to it.

Below are some of my notes about the charges that God levelled against Israel (through Amos). He was concerned about their lack of charity, justice and mercy. He was particularly upset because they were uncaring about the poor, the widows and the orphans and in that had broken their covenant with Him, yet they were carrying on in their sacrifices and worship as if nothing had happened. As if all were well. Now, I see that this is a problem with the body of Christ in North America. But I am usually too quick to point a finger and I remember the adage that when you point a finger there are three pointing back at you. So read my notes. Read Amos ... and then ... let's talk in the comments about what Amos might say to the body of Christ today in North America.

1. Luxury - means to use what we have only for our own enjoyment and to ignore the needs of others ... being irresponsible in the way we use our wealth, wasting it on futile pleasures instead of using it for the good of others and glory of God ... I wonder where hoarding it falls into this picture?

Amos gave this message to “cows of Bashan” wives and children of wealthy leaders ... cows being fattened for slaughter ....lead away to the butcher

2. Hypocrisy - if the heart isn’t right, the sacrifice means nothing (see Cain) Amos used “holy irony” ... go ahead attend church, but with that attitude (your heart isn’t serious about knowing God or doing His will ... it’s just playacting and you’re only doing it to be popular) you’re only sinning more .... on the surface things looked good ... people flocked to altar at Bethel, but sacrifices were unclean, hearts were disobedient, worshipping idols, etc. bragged about freewill offerings, boasted about sacrifices ....

Questions .... where is prayer? who gets the glory? does the fruit remain or is it gone with the meeting is over and the enthusiasm dies down? Are we overwhelmed by the holiness and the glory of God, or are we just applauding religious celebrities?

3. Obstinacy - God set before Israelites life and death ... they chose death (to worship idols) ... spurned his love.

Can you have religion without righteousness and justice? Or is it just hypocrisy? What is justice? What is righteousness? What is hypocrisy in worship and why is it wrong?

Now how does the Body of Christ in North America look? What do the rest of you see?



Blogger kate said...

Hee! You mean to say, you thought our bunch could get through this in, what, 45 minutes?
(stops to belly laugh)
Good stuff, Sonja. Thanks for the challenges. I really enjoyed Sunday, yet was also disturbed by the challenges presented. Which is great.
Matt said he can't remember the last time he actually got riled up by a discussion. Again, in a good way.

1/18/2006 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger aBhantiarna Solas said...

Yeah ... so maybe I'm like the little green frog.

1/18/2006 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Croghan said...

More good stuff. Thanks for sharing it. So what is justice? I suspect it's one of those things that's easier to define by its opposite: we may not know what justice is, but we know injustice when we see it - if we let ourselves see it. Generally, though, we can't be bothered; we're far too busy with other stuff. And yep, that very much includes the North American church, and it most especially includes me.

We need more prophets (even prophet-mallows), but ancient Israel had a bunch of those, and they still, as you say, chose death. Such is, was, and most likely shall be human nature. Boy, we could sure use some good news.


1/18/2006 10:51:00 PM  

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