Jeremiah 7:21-34 reminds us that what God really wants is not sacrifice, songs, or religious rituals. God’s first and primary word to us is “listen”, a call for us to work together with God, cooperating with God as God works healing for the broken, care for those in need, comfort for the hurting. If we are not moved in heart to help those around us or to care for our neighbors, our offerings, our incense, our prayers, are empty gestures.
Jeremiah’s dim view of these acts of worship stems from living in a society that was highly religious, but where religion has become a kind of entertainment for the rich and elite. They go, have their egos stroked, and return to the same self-centered lives they have lived every day the previous week. The goal of worship, though, is to break us out of our shell of ego so we can begin to truly see ourselves as connected with all people and all living things. It is to help shape our vision so that we can see more clearly where we fit in God’s pattern of breathing life into all nature, healing into all that are broken, and working liberty for all who are oppressed.
How are your worship practices calling you to this? How can you change them to make them more of an invitation to this vision of beloved community being born by the living God? How can you participate in building that community every day?