• Slider Image

Monday 05 August 2019 – God will not Listen to Prayers if…

Isaiah 1:10-17  Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Listen to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! 11  What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. 12  When you come to appear before me, who asked this from your hand? Trample my courts no more; 13  bringing offerings is futile; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and sabbath and calling of convocation–I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity. 14  Your new moons and your appointed festivals my soul hates; they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them. 15  When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. 16  Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17  learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

Isaiah bluntly reminds his readers that people of faith do not exist for the sake of their religious activities. Here he puts angry words into God’s mouth: “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts…. bringing offerings is futile; incense is an abomination to me…. I cannot endure solemn assemblies… they have become a burden to me…” I can almost feel the shock of the religiously observant as their activities is thrown back into their faces. “Why?” they ask.

And the then answer comes – because worship must lead to lives that reflect the One who is worshipped: “learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow….”  The presence of God that is invoked in worship becomes visible in acts of justice and compassion. Our worship only becomes real when we cease to pursue evil, and instead defend the oppressed and the marginalized.

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.

Refrain

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.

Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.

Refrain

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.

Words: Fan­ny Cros­by, 1869; ap­peared in Songs of De­vo­tion (New York: Big­low & Main, 1870).

Sixth Sunday after Trinity

37 The Church for Others

The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 231.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.

“To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” Finley Peter Dunne (1867–1936)