READ : Jeremiah 7:1–15
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. (v. 3)
It is obvious from the words of Jeremiah that for many people temple worship had become a mere formality, something one did occasionally. Some thought that participation in temple worship gave them license to do anything they pleased the rest of the time.
In light of the prophet’s strong words, it is well for us to ask ourselves what relationship there is between attendance at worship services and the things we do the rest of the week. It has always been a claim of Christianity that Christ transforms life and that Christ living in the lives of his followers will be visible to the rest of the world.
Christianity is on trial today. People throughout the world are suspicious that the faith we proclaim has no relationship to the lives we live. The world looks to the life of the average church-goer to see if faith in Christ really transforms life. Christianity will be judged not by our church attendance or the professions of faith that we make. It will be judged by the lives we live as a result of our encounter with Christ. Church attendance is but one important part of that life.
Do we see ourselves mirrored in the words of Jeremiah? Are there people not in attendance at worship services because of the way we live? (originally published April 6, 1964)
Thank you, God, for the lives of men and women who have remained faithful under difficult circumstances. Amen.