Bruce Reyes-Chow posted a great reflection on the trouble with our high holy days and the momentary influx of folks who visit our churches on Easter and Christmas eve but may never warm a pew, join a small group or so much as sip a cup of coffee with us the rest of the year.
Bruce’s post is wonderful , spot on and I wholly agree with Bruce’s suggestion that we help create high-holy-day Christians by going overboard during our “festivals”.
Bruce says: “And why is this bad you ask? Why shouldn’t we give 110% and do it all up for God on Easter, you wonder? Quite simply, because it usually is more about perpetuating our own habits and expectations, than about sharing our faith in meaningful and life-changing ways with those who might be searching.”
Though while reading his post, Amos 5 came to mind. I could not help but think that, beyond our pomp and circumstance on our most treasured holiday or even the lower pomp on “regular” Sundays there is even a greater call to be the church in the world every day. How do we “be the church every day? I’m thinking Amos (yep and Jesus a wee bit later) is calling us into a different relationship with God that calls us to love the world, our sisters and brothers, so radically that we actually serve, give and sacrifice in order to share God’s love every day, not just make pretty noise on Sundays.
What do we make of Amos 5 as we prepare for the greatest of Christian festivals? What does the prophet say to us about how we approach our weekly services and the way we live in the in-between? Are we Sunday Christians or 365 disciples seeking justice, living compassionately and working for peace in every aspect of our lives? It seems that Amos is telling us that authentic worship of God looks more like creating a harmonious home for your family, getting and staying involved in your local community, working in soup kitchens, collecting clothes for the shelter, attending teach-ins on immigration concerns, acquiring blisters and maybe even wounds marching for worker’s rights, participating in the Day of Silence in support of your LGBT neighbors, praying daily with a local anti-child trafficking group, fasting with religious leaders around the country to protest immoral budget cuts or working with a local sustainability organization to bring respite to our nearly exhausted environment.
Being an activist does not preclude coming together on Sundays, or Saturdays or even Wednesday evenings at a church in Second Life. No, our common worship, prayer and study life is part of the circle of praxis that can and should inform and can be and should be informed by our active participation in tapping the wellspring of the waters of justice for all of creation.
“21 I hate, I despise your festivals,
and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
22 Even though you offer me your burnt-offerings and grain-offerings,
I will not accept them;
and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals
I will not look upon.
23 Take away from me the noise of your songs;
I will not listen to the melody of your harps.
24 But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. “