I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.
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"You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!" to quote a movie line. The people of faith in every age risk turning the practice of faith into going through the motions. Honor holy days. Look appropriately reverent at worship. Give the acceptable offering. Sing the song and call it good. The prophet was putting God's people on notice that God wasn't impressed with gestures of righteousness. Before we wax warm and fuzzy about the idea of God's justice babbling like a brook, the real force of the prophet's words are better understood if we were standing at the base of a dam and hearing the signal for the opening of the flood gates. God is grabbing the people by the facemask and telling them and us to get our heads back in the game - the one that matters - where love of God and the love of God's people is a way of life. God's justice can move through us or it can plow over us.
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May the waters of justice and righteousness move through me for the sake of others. Amen.