For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” vs. 6Hosea 6:4-6
Somehow the people of Israel and Judah had managed to get the Lord’s message all screwed up during their time of prosperity. Their forefathers had developed a sacrificial system that provided times for pilgrimages and offerings. It was a way of giving thanks and praise to the Lord while also atoning for sin. But through the years it had become focused on the externals and was dominated by a hierarchy of priests who cared more about rules than behaviors. Prophets like Amos and Hosea were appalled! Again and again they offered their critiques. As we read their words we can’t help but think of the state of religion in our time. Admittedly there are some of the same tendencies to focus on the externals of worship, but we also see large numbers of earnest believers who have taken the prophets’ message to heart. Their focus is on the unconditional love of God for all people, and they regularly give their full attention to sacrificial service. They’re lifting up their voices on behalf of the poor and the hungry, welcoming refugees and asylum seekers, providing shelter for the homeless, and seeking new ways to engage the Divine Presence in meditation, prayer, and song. These communities of faith are everywhere, and in them the presence of Christ is being felt in spectacular ways. Hosea would be proud!
Thought for the Day: What would Hosea say to my faith community?