"'Why have we fasted,' they say, 'and you have not seen it'"(Isaiah 58:3). These are the words of the community that bears God's name. Its people think that their sacred routines services, their devotional exercises should get God's attention; get God to see how much he owes them for them piety. True worship is about drawing human attention away from itself and focusing on the might, beauty and goodness of God.
“Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the corn.” (Deuteronomy 25:4) This pithy little command is set within other instructions which include one providing that a poor man’s wage be paid before day’s end because he is poor and is counting on it. That is an ethic which seems reasonable, but why should a human being care about how an animal feels? Maybe, because humans who treat animals without regard to their sentient state, are more likely to behave capriciously and
When I was just a boy, my leg was run over by a horse-drawn wagon. Nothing was broken, and I soon got over it. But at the time, the world was made up of my suffering alone. It would not have made any difference to me if someone had been shot right beside me. My pain filled the universe. Job was so overcome with his troubles that he wanted to find a way to express the sheer magnitude of them to his friends. It is so with all of us—throughout our days. There is never and s
It is a mistake if devout folk suppose their connection to God obtains by means of things they know; the quality of their religious intelligence; their theological acumen. Never before has the world known as much as it does now. Yet, the knowing is not on its own enough to rid the earth of injustice. Far too often advanced education has served to multiply cruelty and suffering. There is a certain emptiness in knowledge, as suggested by the word 'puff.' But love! Love is f
Proverbs are the considered reflections of individuals who have been around for a while and know a thing or two about how things go in the world. This wise observer sees that resentment and envy have a negative effect on persons in whom they are nurtured. Harsh and unfair things may happen, but the wiser man will choose not to pity himself.
Kindness, justice, righteousness are joyously present in the heart of God. Here stated, then, are the chief concerns of a consecrated life. Where these are not central, religion is a blight on humanity. Well might this be taken in to account when considering why religion is despised by so many.
Why should I maintain my integrity while everyone else takes short-cuts? Because the righteousness of one cannot be separated from the destiny of many. Society has a stake in the virtue of the few. God makes his faithful one’s part of his merciful intention for the whole world.
The deep evil of which humans are more than capable, lies in this: Not content with open rebellion against their maker, they engage in Machiavellian religion; they pursue their course against God while professing devotion to him. They think to use God for their purposes. But God sees and knows. Teach us to love you, O God; save us from our futility.
So says Nehemiah as he reflects on his days overseeing the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s fallen walls. He was in a position to ‘fare sumptuously.’ He could have used his authority to make himself very comfortable on the backs of his fellow countrymen who were poor. It was Nehemiah’s right to expect to live at a standard above those he governed—but he did not exercise his right. Compassion looks beyond what is permitted. There are things not wrong in themselves, but they become
This is not a maxim which should be used say, by an investor in the stock market, as an insurance to guarantee profits. It is not a promise of short term material gratification. It is a proverb telling a truth about God's universe. This is a universe tilted in the direction of giving, sharing, and generous good will. In the eternal purview of God, there is no accommodation for Scrooge and his ilk.