Just Amos

posted Jul 31, 2020, 8:07 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,

Grace and peace to you!

Earlier in July, Judy (Director of Music) and I met to discuss August worship to see if we could come up with something different from the lectionary readings. We have made this “different worship” a practice in August for the last two years, and pandemic or not, we reckoned why stop now? In our research, Judy found a timely 4 week series from Reformed Worship called "Just Amos,” written by Shannon Jammal-Hollemans, Kate Kooyman, and Kris Van Engen. Here is the description of the series: What is worship? Who is it for? Who can attend? In our North American culture often the answer in practice is that worship is for us churchgoers, but of course anyone who wants to can come and participate. Worship is for our enjoyment, amusement, or sanctification. We spend a lot of time and energy on planning our worship; we even have publications, denominational staff, and church staff whose sole purpose is to help with the planning and implementation of worship. And all of it is meaningless. Absolutely meaningless.

Unless . . .

Unless, as Amos suggests, our worship is directed to God and flows out of a relationship with God. Unless our worship is more than a once-a-week ritual and is built on a life modeled after Christ himself. When we approach God’s throne in worship, we should ask whether our hearts are one with Christ’s and filled with the things that concern Christ, and whether our actions reflect the actions of Christ. The message of Amos is a much-needed corrective to the message of our prevalent culture.

I wonder . . . how would our relationship with Christ develop and deepen if we viewed worship, not as a space on Sunday for one hour, but as an hourly and daily practice of faith that happens anywhere and everywhere? I wonder . . . what would shift in us if we didn’t regard hymn singing, communal prayers and liturgy as the only appropriate language for worship, but also discerned that worship was happening in the daily conversations with people we meet? How would this change how we spoke with one another, especially those we may see as “not like us?” I wonder . . . how would we approach our daily tasks or jobs, not seeing them as a monotonous routine, but rather saw them as having the potential to be filled with God’s justice and righteousness? (Do you know what I want? I want justice—oceans of it. I want fairness—rivers of it. — Amos 5.24, The Message)

I wonder . . . let’s find out together this August.

Come this Sunday when we will gather online at 10:15 AM to chat with one another, and then worship together at 10:30 AM. I am preaching from Amos 3.1-15 and my sermon title is Chosen to Do Justice. We will also celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper so please have bread and juice/wine with you during worship. 

In gratitude for the privilege of being your pastor and the holy call of loving you,

Pastor Trish