Dietrich Bonhoeffer said...

For the Christian, worship cannot be divorced from the service of the brethren ... If we despise our brother our worship is unreal, and it forfeits every divine promise.

Isaiah 1:11 ‘‘The multitude of your sacrifices— what are they to me?” says the LORD. ‘‘I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. 12 When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? 13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your evil assemblies. 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood;

Imagine that you arrive at church on Sunday and find a note on the closed doors. On this note, it is written that the church is closed for worship because there is too much unrighteousness taking place in the congregation. No offerings will be received by the church anymore, no worship will take place, and God will answer no prayers before the injustice, hate, and pain in the congregation is eradicated.

I know that you will not be very happy. This, however, is the message of Isaiah and many other prophets in the Old Testament. Stop worshiping while your hands are full of blood! (1:15). Jesus goes further and says that we have to leave our gift at the altar and go and make peace with the person who has something against us (Matthew 5:22,23).

Look around you. Do you see the poverty? Are you able to do something about it? Do you see the injustice? Are you able to use your influence to change it? Do you see the hate in your congregation and in your own heart? Have you done something to change it? Well, stop being so pious and stop going to church. It has no sense. Only those who are committed to true love towards their fellow human beings have the right to worship.

Lord, make us more committed to our fellow human beings so that we can be more committed to you, for the sake of Jesus Christ