Away with the noise of your songs…

Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!

Amos 5:23&24

And with that, the album was launched. Ha ha ha…

It’s funny the things God reminds you of the day before you launch an album of worship music! I was sat in church on Sunday evening listening to a talk about our broken world, and God’s heart for us as Christ’s followers to “bring the kingdom” in our worship of Him. And so I started reflecting on us singing our songs of worship at church.

I do think sung worship has an important role in our church communities. It is uniting. It is powerful. It can embed truth into our hearts and it reminds us as worshippers that we serve and submit to a greater God. Yet I’ve always been struck by these verses in Amos. They are addressed to the Israelites, a worshipping community that at the time had completely lost its way.

Israel had reached a place where they thought that going through the motions of worship was all that was required by God. With that box ticked, they reasoned they could pretty much do as they pleased. God’s law was disregarded and people sought power and wealth at the expense of others.

Amos condemned this. He warned that those seeking to pervert justice and exploit the poor would lose everything (3:15) and God’s judgement would bring near total destruction (5).

Source for slight concern you might say? More than a slight concern you might say when you look around you at the world today. Do you see injustice? Do you see the poor being exploited? It made me wonder whether sometimes we just through the motions, singing the songs without really connecting, without really engaging God’s heart. My hope and prayer is that 5+2 and the vision for it takes people deeper into God’s heart.

Because God calls us to engage with him in full and bring the Kingdom as we live lives of worship for Him.

We know that if the people of Israel repented and sought God’s forgiveness, there was hope for mercy (5:15). We put our hope in that same God of mercy and grace. As I’ve blogged before, it’s not about guilt, it’s about responding to God for who He is and what He has done. And responding in the way God has shown us…

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

So here’s the punchline. We’re no-where near breaking even on the cost of the album just yet… not even close in fact. But it’s time to put our money where our mouth is. We’ve sold 10 CD copies so far, and all the money from that (£100) is going to World Vision’s emergency appeal for West Africa, where children are facing a potentially fatal food crisis.

This isn’t about making One Step Lantern look all worthy and wot not… far from it. It’s about true worship leading. Worship leaders and artists have a responsibility to point people to God’s heart and engage them with Him – that’s what this is about. It’s just not right that children in our world are dying of hunger, measles and diahorrea… and it breaks God’s heart. It should break ours too. But this awful crisis is going largely unreported at the moment. Why is that? Are there more newsworthy stories (click on the link and scroll down to “Most Popular” on the right hand side)? Are we just too tired or too busy to hear about another disaster? We desperately need to pray and we need to act.

So let’s put the songs aside for a moment and let “justice roll on like a river”. Pray for West Africa, its children and people. The clip below is uncomfortable, but it’s real and it’s happening now, on our watch. Please watch and pray…

Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!

Amos 5:23&24

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