Beliefs and Actions

October 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

Right beliefs and right actions cannot be separated.  Worship and mission belong together, and the one is not possible without the other.  That is at the heart of the prophet Amos’ sharp tirade against the false confidence of Israel in Amos 5:18-24.  He found their worship practices to be hollow and announces that God would have none of it (5:22).  The problem was not Israel’s worship practices per se, but divorcing those practices from matters of justice and righteousness in their dealings with especially the marginalized and poor in their communities.  It is the agenda of all the prophets.  Just to name two examples:  Isaiah complains about Sabbath observances that are disconnected from care for the needy (Isaiah 58); Micah reminds us that God’s requirements are to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8).  And, of course, for Jesus justice and mercy deserve special attention as the “weightier matters of the Law” (Matthew 23:23).  You and I probably just came out of worship services less than 24 hours ago.  What difference will that make in the lives of the marginalized in our towns and neighborhoods?

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