True Worship

My wife and I were discussing church doctrines last night over dinner. Well, not in depth. But someone asked her about the doctrine of a certain denomination of Christian church. She was at a bit of a loss to explain it.

I thought a little, and the many variations of denominations flashed through my mind. Mention Baptist–but there are more than 57 varieties of Baptist. There are at least three variations of Lutheran of which I’m aware–and two Presbyterian. The Disciples of Christ broke away from the American Baptists a long time ago because someone thought the Bible taught to have communion every week.

It struck me how each of these took a bunch of verses from the Bible, seemingly at random, and strung them together into a doctrine. To me, many of those are misreadings often caused by lifting verses out of context or not understanding the reference.

Then I thought (sometimes maybe I do too much of that) about how these denominations and the people in them fight all the time. People get mad and leave, only to go to another denomination and begin the process again.

Then I returned to my study of Isaiah 58.

Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day,

and oppress all your workers.

Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight

and to strike with a wicked fist.

How often that’s what we do today! And not just Christians. Check out the other two religions that grew from Abraham’s worship of the one true God–Judaism and Islam. We all gather to serve our own interests. We seem to gather to quarrel and fight.

That’s not what God said in the Old Testament 2,800 years ago. That’s not what Jesus taught 2,000 years  ago. Again from Isaiah 58,

Is such the fast I choose,

a day to humble oneself?

And,

Is not this the fast that I choose:

to loose the bonds of injustice,

to undo the thongs of the yoke,

to let the oppressed go free,

and to break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,

and bring the homeless poor into your house;

Humble means to think of others before yourself. And think of God first. Leaders, take the lesson. All of us, let’s remember the source of life. “You shall love the Lord your God…, and your neighbor as yourself.”

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