Wednesday, March 2, 2022

 Shepastor: What is the Lord Seeking?

Amos 5:21-24

21 I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.

22 Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.

23 Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.

24 But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.

We are currently in the season of the Christian Calendar called, “Lent.” For many, this is a season of fasting from sweets, delectable and, goodies. The purpose is to sacrifice something that we enjoy, in order to focus upon getting closer to the Lord. The practice is admirable. Its intent is beautiful. But could the Lord be seeking women and men that are willing to do more than to give up the chocolate bunnies, cakes, pies, and meat on Friday?  It’s easy to give up those things, but what does the Lord really want us to give up? What would truly be a “sacrifice?” 

In Amos’ day, people were fasting, attending religious gatherings, and even paying their tithes. But their hearts were far from the Lord. They were checking a proverbial box of religious behaviors. Today we must ask ourselves, “Are we any different?”

 America is one of the wealthiest nations on earth. Yet in our land of plenty, there are millions of people living in poverty, unable to meet their own basic needs. Poverty exists in every state across the country—in urban, suburban, and rural areas—and its reach crosses every barrier—age, race, gender, and family situations. Poverty can be situational (people experiencing a crisis such as illness, divorce, or unemployment), generational (families living in poverty for two or more generations), or relational (isolated people without a support network to turn to).

 People in poverty experience not only a lack of income or material possessions, but a lack of such things as physical and emotional security, stable relationships, and damaged self-esteem. Poverty is teaching millions of Americans that they are not valued, that failure is to be expected, and that hope is futile.

 Our approach to poverty must change.  Meeting immediate needs are wonderful, but if we don’t challenge the systems that perpetuate poverty, our gifts are but band aids on devastating wounds that require major surgery.  We must fast from more than candy and other sweets. God is seeking individuals that fast from injustice! 

The Lord is seeking women and men that will stand and vote for just laws. The Lord is seeking women and men that will serve our Nation in just, merciful and godly ways. Greed, deceit, oppression, racist systems and hatred must be confronted by the people of God.

 As the Church, we need to begin to prayerfully ask God in 2022, what new things can we do to help bring about relief and support to our surrounding communities and the world.  We need to ask ourselves the question, “Are we simply bringing before the Lord meaningless fasts, burnt offerings and sacrifices of tradition and that which does not require us to leave our comfort zones?” The Lord wants to use us to help break some chains, open some blinded eyes, bring some relief, to show His love and compassion to a dying world…to “do justice!”

 Let us prayerfully consider what we can do to help serve this present age. As we fast and pray during this Lenten season, may our fasting cleanse us from lethargic and selfish ways. May our fasting convict us of empty practices. May our fasting pull us towards actions that give God’s heart joy. May we fast from injustice! May the Lord find what He is seeking, in us!


In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,

Pastor Chris

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