Isaiah 58:1-9a(9b-12) v3 “We have fasted before you! Thy say, “Why are you not impressed? We have been hard on ourselves, and you don’t even notice it!”
Shout allowed. Tell my people Israel of their sins. We have fasted before you! Thy say, “Why are you not impressed? We have been hard on ourselves, and you don’t even notice it!” I tell you why, It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves. You oppress your workers, fight amongst yourselves and are going through the motions of penance. Do you really think this will please the Lord? The remainder of the reading shows us what does please God.
Throughout my career as a healthcare professional people would come to me to share their problems and together, we would work to try and alleviate the pain, improve their ability to walk or breath or recover from an accident or disease process. However, there were a few who worked the system of Workers compensation to their own benefit. I found myself going through the motions of trying to change things but without any conviction as due to the contradicting symptoms or non-conforming patterns of pain the cause of the problem was something completely different. It wasn’t a psychological illness either it was a blatant attempt to abuse the system for their own gain. I was not impressed.
I have also sat in a church service, mad about something, anxious about how I was going to get my week in order. Going through the motions of a service, not really being there and certainly not listening for God. I am sure He was not impressed. Pretending that taking the time out to go to Church was all I needed. God is not impressed by our church attendance, our committee work, our good deeds if we are not present to Him. If our attitude is one of self-glorification, and we treat others badly and the rituals of a service are only that, things that we do every Sunday.
Prayer: Almighty God, help us to be present to you. To sit quietly now, to open our hearts to the knowledge that you love us. Just as we are. Help us to take that love with us in all we do this week, not pretending so that you will notice us. Amen