Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom!
Listen to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah!
What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.
When you come to appear before me, who asked this from your hand?
Trample my courts no more; bringing offerings is futile;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and sabbath and calling of convocation -
I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity.
Your new moons and your appointed festivals my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them.
When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers, I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes;
cease to do evil, learn to do good;
seek justice, rescue the oppressed,
defend the orphan, plead for the widow.
- Isaiah 1
Continuing with the theme of judgment ... I once heard a great preacher refer to this reading and say, "See? God gets bored in church, too!" Enough posturing and posing and hypocrisy, says God. Quit sacrificing animals to me and sacrifice for others instead. If you feel the need to burn something, burn up your hearts. Quit trying to shore up your own security and comfort and give NOW to those who have much less than you do. You can't keep what you have anyway. Eventually, it will all be gone ... burned up in the flames of time that devour everything. So take care of others now, and worry less about your own selfish desires.
This is an Advent discipline: to give to the poor and the oppressed. Consider making a Christmas gift in someone's name through Episcopal Relief and Development ... rather than giving more unnecessary stuff.
Song of the day: from 1968, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, with "Fire."