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True Worship & Fast: Riffing on Isaiah 58

God is not impressed.

Why, you ask? Allow me paint an evocative picture.

 

Sing song, sing-a-long.

Hands raised to high heaven,

Like the branches of red oaks

Only inches shy of touching the big blue sky.

 

While the world sleeps, the Christian’s alarm clock beeps

It’s Sunday, says the mind as our lips get on their grind

Creating great services, working hard on our performances

and striving even harder to maintain appearances.

 

Notice me, God! Notice me, world! Notice me…ME!

Sunday best sharply dressed.

YHWH says, “I’m not impressed.”

 

Don’t get me wrong; “praise and worship” look good on him

Like a well tailored suit, fitted slim

My God looks good in the praises of His people.

And when we truly worship, ooh he smiles revealing divine dimples.

 

But let’s be honest…the same mouths we sing praises with

Heap abuse and curses on the homeless and the poor.

The same hands we raise in worship

Exploit workers so we can get our 1st World comforts.

 

Does our worship reveal God’s majesty?

Does it usher us into the throne room of the king of the galaxy?

Does it create space for his spirit to move and empower?

Does it send us out sweet, or leave us tart and sour?

 

Sometimes, it isn’t God we worship, but our own counterfeit gods.

We want a god who we can manage,

A god who we can keep trapped in scripture’s pages,

A god we can talk to, but who never responds.

A distant king and master to whom we have no bonds.

 

And so we live to die another day, isn’t it strange

Another Sunday, come and gone, yet our lives have seen no change.

Monday morning comes around, as we search deep within

The only difference from our non-church friends is that this weekend they slept in.

 

Curtains closed. Take a bow, cause we put on a quite a show

Flashing lights, and Super-bass. But our growth is oh…so…slow

Just got back from church, hashtag “Too Blessed To Be Stressed.”

God replies: “Great Performance. Hashtag I am not impressed.”

 

Like a pair of noise-cancelling headphones

He is shutting out the beats of our performances

Until we connect like Bluetooth to His beating heart,

Our heart breaking for the things His heart breaks for

Our souls rejoicing in generous justice that provides wholeness for all!

 

Until then…

“God is not impressed.”

 

God is showing us that our worship on Sunday

Is inextricably linked to our acts of mercy on Monday,

And our outstretched hands in worship on the Holy Day

Should also be stretching out to help our neighbors on Saturday.

 

We do not worship in a vacuum. Our Worship is couched in all of life.

So when we worship in Spirit and in truth

Our worship will end in pursuing justice

And our pursuing justice will end in worship.

 

Let your worship service lead you to service worship

A never-ending cycle of beauty and grace.

Hands raised high to God in gratitude

Because through him, they have helped the oppressed

Hands reaching out to a hurting world

Because by God, these hands have been blessed.

 

Then…and only then…will we shine,

Our collective lights breaking forth like the dawn,

Reflecting God’s beauty in broken places,

Destroying our low expectations

And revealing the glory of our God’s salvation.

 

Fast this way, God says.

Give up something good in your life for something great.

Worship this way, God says.

Praise me with your words and with your works.

 

Worship this way, God says.

Draw near to me, Abide in my word.

Sing praises when you do well,

Confess when you don’t.

Receive assurance of my love

 

Loose the chains of injustice

Set the oppressed free

House the homeless

Give food to the hungry.

 

Repeat.

 

When we worship this way,

God is impressed!

When we worship this way

Hashtag, we are blessed.

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