Jeremiah 7:1-7 The Message from GOD to Jeremiah: “Stand in the gate of GOD’s Temple and preach this Message. “Say, ‘Listen, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship GOD. GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God, has this to say to you: “‘Clean up your act—the way you live, the things you do—so I can make my home with you in this place. Don’t for a minute believe the lies being spoken here—“This is GOD’s Temple, GOD’s Temple, GOD’s Temple!” Total nonsense! Only if you clean up your act (the way you live, the things you do), only if you do a total spring cleaning on the way you live and treat your neighbors, only if you quit exploiting the street people and orphans and widows, no longer taking advantage of innocent people on this very site and no longer destroying your souls by using this Temple as a front for other gods—only then will I move into your neighborhood. Only then will this country I gave your ancestors be my permanent home, my Temple.
Through Jeremiah, God called the people of Judah, and thus, us today, to reevaluate their practices as they relate to worship and their overall spirituality. Why? Well, they would seemingly worship God in the temple with all their hearts and then go out and commit appalling acts…they lied and cheated each other…they demoralized those who were homeless, widowed and strangers. They tyrannized and in so doing shed innocent blood. They had completely forgotten the command given to them by Moses in Deuteronomy 6:5, “Love GOD, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got!” (The Message). And the way we show that love is not by simply showing up to church on Sundays to tick off another worship, but allowing Him to dwell with us wherever we go…to extend that love throughout each day…to our families, to our friends, to our neighbors, the grocer, the coffee shop barista, etc., etc.!
Jeremiah was reminding the people of God that their Lord was interested in more than filled pews on Sundays…He was interested in their everyday lives. If they truly worshiped Him, Jeremiah was saying, they would see that taking care of their friend, neighbor, co-worker, etc, was just as important as being in worship once a week. The little things we do for one another, every single day, are just as important as the sacred act of worship to our God.
It is during this period of Lent, that we can reflect on how God is reminding us that He’s concerned about the everyday aspects of our lives just as much as he’s concerned the worship aspects. You see, worshiping God is not a once a week act, but a lifestyle that needs to permeate through every aspect of our lives and beyond.
So, the question for you to reflect on during this Lenten period is this, “Have you surrendered your all to God and relegated all areas and aspects of your life to Him? If not, this is the perfect time to reflect and then to act.
Bonnie Boe, Commissioned Lay Pastor, 805-529-8422 x102