Worship and justice

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I am so glad you have joined me for this, the last in our series on worship as a lifestyle (next week we will start a new series).

Reflections based on Amos 5:14–15; 21–24.

‘Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!’

It was with great interest, and an ever-softening heart, that I read The Art of Compassion. Martin Smith, formerly of Delirious, had launched the charity CompassionArt and invited other musicians to write an album with him, the proceeds of which went to helping the poor. I cried buckets reading the book, in which each artist revealed why they had gotten involved. For many, being part of today’s Westernised ‘worship music culture’ had made them desperate to discover the true meaning of worship afresh. One by one they shared how God had led them to these verses and how they had been undone. God doesn’t want our empty words – He doesn’t want us to sing about how much we love Him on a Sunday, then turn away from the person in desperate need on Monday morning.

Many of the artists have taken their families out to Africa to visit orphanages, and also adopted children and brought them home. I realise most of us don’t have the money to take our kids abroad to make them more aware of worldwide needs. But God does hold us accountable for caring for those we come across daily. When Israel was complaining that they were religiously fasting but God hadn’t noticed He replied: ‘Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?’ (Isaiah 58:6). And in Matthew 25:45 Jesus says: ‘whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me’.

We may not feel that we have much to offer, but when we reach out to those around us God ministers to them. Being His hands and feet in this world is a vital part of worship.

Prayer: If you aren’t sure where the most needy are in your area, start praying that God will open your eyes to see who He wants you to help and how you can bring His justice to your neighbourhood.

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