#NoMoreShacks2014: Worship Songs and Poverty

This is part 2 of our Poverty Awareness Week blog series called #NoMoreShacks2014. Click here to see all posts in this series.

Today is Sunday – the day we set aside as holy, as a day to gather as Christ’s body in the presence of the Spirit to worship our God. I’d be willing to bet that most of us sang some songs today at our worship services. What were those songs about? Did they mention anything about poverty, injustice, suffering, grief, our sub-standard housing in rural Alabama?

amos524Probably not.

But why? Is God not concerned about these situations of hurt and brokenness? Of course God is concerned! The question is: are we? And, are we willing to raise our voices to God and sing for healing and restoration?

We came across a post on the Tearfund blog called “Spoiling our Sundays” that asks these very questions. But, it goes one step farther. Because, really, our worship songs about justice, peace, and restoration are empty unless we are sent out from our churches to be people who live in ways that seek justice, peace, and restoration.

The songs must become flesh and move into the poor neighbourhoods. If they are for our own enjoyment, or to elicit a warm fuzzy feeling, then God will be unimpressed. If they are a resource for the Holy Spirit to use in our spiritual formation that results in social transformation, then we will know they are of God.

Steve Stockman, “Spoiling our Sundays”, Tearfund.org

At least part of the reason we don’t sing more about justice is the lack of worship songs that mention it! But here’s one good exception from that rule: God of Justice by Tim Hughes.

To end this post, its best that we remember the prophetic words of Amos concerning God’s desires for our worship:

“I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
your assemblies are a stench to me.
Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
I will have no regard for them.
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 5:1-24, NIV

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