Gleanings – Assemble Less, Follow More

1 Advent, Monday, December 03, 2012

Isaiah 1:-10-20

“Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the call of assemblies – I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.”

Yesterday marked the beginning of the New Year in the life of the liturgical church. It begins an annual cycle of anticipating the coming of Christ, his birth, ministry, death, resurrection and anticipating his coming again in great glory. In the midst of what could be or become religious activity, it good to be reminded and remember our faith is always a matter of the heart and willingness and obedience.

Bill O’Reilly made news recently by arguing, in an attempt to defend Christianity in the public square, that Christianity was not a religion but a philosophy. Umm, no! If anything “Christianity is a way of life in the footsteps of Jesus.” It is nothing more and nothing less. I appreciate Bill’s efforts but he only confuses what should be fairly simple in any age. We should live into the high calling of being like Jesus with or without the support of the public square. Is God expecting less obedience in the Chinese simply because their government seeks to suppress faith? While I desire a “Christmas” tree over the vague and feckless “holiday” one, I am quite sure we can do without it. In fact true faith might flourish when are symbols are rejected. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.

In his defense, O’Reilly is right when he says that Christianity is not a religion, certainly not one of offerings to God. This is apparent in Isaiah in an age in which offering were routinely made. The smoke, the assemblies, the seasons offended God especially when offered by rebellious people.

What did God want in the age of offerings? A committed people! Cease evil. Learn good. Seek justice. Correct oppression. Defend the fatherless. Please for the widow. All these things are achieved without walking through the door of the church.

Here is where my pastor friends say stop. We cannot forsake assembling. And with that I agree. But God clearly says he will take obedient people over an assembly so if we err it should be on the side of obedience and not offering another service to appease God. He is appeased or pleased by commitment and obedience. Let our assemblies be a sign of that.

Word? Assemble less if necessary in order to follow more.


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