Read Amos 5:21-24
21 “I hate all your show and pretense—
the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies.
22 I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings.
I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings.
23 Away with your noisy hymns of praise!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice,
an endless river of righteous living. (NLT)
It is so very easy to equate worship of God with singing in church gatherings. “We will now have a time of ‘worship’.” So easy to focus on the jolly good time we are having with our fellow believers and forget that there is a lot more to our faith than that.
Amos was one of a number of Old Testament figures who called the people of God to a more wholehearted, whole-of-life worship. It is not as if the religious festivals and songs and offerings were bad in themselves. It is just that the worshippers were doing all that and not living out their faith.
Some Christians have always plunged into good works and pursuit of justice, whereas others have been a bit suspicious of what was called the ‘social gospel’. But we have biblical support for being passionate about the wider issues of justice on a corporate and personal level. It is part of our worship.
A new relationship with a God of justice and love should drive us to seek justice and live out love beyond the church walls. The test of our faith is not the fervency with which we sing or the slick presentation of our gatherings together. The test is how it works out in everyday life in a world that has lost its moorings. The church has to leave the building and let its worship spill out to a watching and waiting world.