March 1, 2020, Amos 5:18-24 – Post 3 – ISSL Reflection

Can we agree the prophet wants the people to have no uncertainty that their festivals, assemblies, offerings, sacrifices, songs and music do nothing to move God. All the things they might count on as proper religious activities are worthless.

What are they left with? What can they do?

I wonder if the closing sentence from this week’s reading may offer clues?

But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

If we take time to read the prophet’s words that precede our week’s reading we will notice him reporting God’s word to the people is,

“ … Seek me and live … Seek the Lord and live … Seek good and not evil, that you may live … Hate evil and love good, and establish justice in the gate…”

Maybe a people can put so much confidence in what they come to regard as their proper religious practices, they forget the call to love God and to love the neighbor. Might they forget that the practices are not an end in themselves or a means to get God to be on their side but are a means to draw near to God and even to more closely look like and act like his daughters and sons.

Our spiritual practices might not look like the ones Amos condemns but it might do us good to remember that just as the people Amos spoke to could put too much confidence in and trust in their practices, we too can become so enamored with our personal spiritual disciplines we forget they are about bringing us to the place we can more fully love God, love our neighbors and love ourselves.

Don’t neglect your spiritual practices, just hold them lightly so you can let go if the prophet comes with a word for you.

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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