Sunday, July 19, 2009

Empty Ritual And True Worship

Focus verses Isaiah 58:1-12

My grandmother used to say "Actions speak louder than words." This adage wasn't original to her, but she mentioned it frequently. And she used to quote this poem.

"I love you, Mother," said little Nell.
"I love you more than tongue can tell."
Then she teased and pouted half the day,
Till Mother rejoiced when she went to play.

"I love you, Mother," said little Nan.
"Today I’ll help you all I can."
Busy and happy all day was she,
Helpful and cheerful as child could be.

God is saying something very much like that in these verses. All your rituals and Sunday pomp and circumstance are totally empty if they don't make a change in your Monday through Saturday.

If we fast and put on sackcloth and ashes, it doesn't mean a thing unless the product of our fasting is to help someone else. Abstaining from food is not the end itself. It is a means to provide food to others. Our God has a social conscience. Read verses 6 through 12 again carefully.

These are the social responsibilities of the child of God. Do we measure up?

Father, God,

Keep us from being so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good. As long as we are here, show us how and where to help Your hurting world, and help us to be faithful to the true worship of You as expressed in service to others.
In Jesus' most precious name.
Amen.

4 comments:

~Crystal A Murray said...

Very nicely stated and the poem does a great job of illustrating your point. I hope this gets a lot of readers.

Andrea said...

Great post!
Sitka and I would like to thank you for your prayers for Jim and Mary.

Blessings and prayers,
Andrea

http://arise2write.blogspot.com

http://andrealuvsallgodscreatures.blogspot.com

shadiahrichi said...

This very thought provoking. So often I've viewed fasting as praying harder, like getting "extra credit" - how different a perspective to realize we fast "as a means to provide food for others." Beautiful (and it coincides with the book I'm reading, "The Hole in our Gospel"...Wow)

Judith Robl said...

Thank you, Crystal, Andrea, and Shadia.

Your thoughts are most welcome here.