The prophet Amos had some condemning words for the people of Israel. Through Amos, God unleashed a lament against his chosen people. He says he despises their religious festivals, and their assemblies are a stench to him. Yeah, I get that. Those people sure rebelled against God; they deserved his stern rebuke. They went through the motions of worship but forgot to focus on why; to their shame they didn’t really understand who God is.
Yet, I wonder if those words also apply to us today. Does God also despise our efforts at church? Are our gatherings a stench to him?
God continues his stinging reproach. He calls their songs noise and refuses to listen to their music. Does God think the same way about our worship music today? Does our preoccupation with music style, instrument selection, volume level, worship team, and pursuit of excellence repeal God? I hope not, but I fear it might be so.
A couple chapters later God says what he will do. He will turn their religious celebrations into mourning; he will change their singing into tears.
Sometimes (too often) I sit in church and want to cry, at least on the inside. I thought this was because I was bored and disconnected, but now I wonder if maybe God isn’t revealing a bit of his heart to me.
I fear there is more to worshiping God, so much more, but we largely miss it.