Evidences and Reconciliations 8/11/08

John Nilsson church, faith, God, Mormon, prophets, religion, sacrament, sacrament meeting, scripture, theology 10 Comments

I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Amos 5:21-24

For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High; nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times;but remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord. And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full.

Doctrine and Covenants 59:9-13

Discuss,

my friends:

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  2. Linger-longers rock – at least those that don’t include burnt offerings. Chile, bean casseroles, 46 different desserts – now that’s a feast worth having.

  3. I think righteousness reconciles these two scriptures. The reason the Lord hates the assemblies and the offerings in Amos and Isaiah is that they are being wrongly performed. I don’t think the goal is to stop gathering or offering, but to do them righteously, as is outlined in D&C 59.

    I loved the song on the link:

    When I was a boy, each week
    On Sunday, we would go to church
    And pay attention to the priest
    As he would read the Holy Word.
    And consecrate the holy bread
    And everyone would kneel and bow
    Today the only difference is
    Everything is holy now….

    This morning outside I stood
    And saw a little red-winged bird
    Shining like a burning bush
    Singing like a scripture verse
    It made me want to bow my head
    and I remember when church let out
    how things have changed since then,
    everything is holy now.

    I think we need to make all of our services and everything we do holy.

  4. Isaiah was a prophet of the same time as Amos. In Isaiah 1 we see the parallel issue raised that the Lord does not wish to receive the sacrifices and festivals. The people are equated with whoremongers of the type of wickedness as Sodom and Gomorrah because they are not obedient. They were not seeking justice, taking care of orphans and widows, etc. This is important because it helps us frame the import of the Levitical law. It wasn’t unimportant per se, but it was not foundational to bringing about righteousness by virtue of it. Amos and Isaiah’s criticism begs the teachings on pure religion of James, and teachings about righteousness by Paul. It also recalls Samuel’s teachings that “obedience is greater than sacrifice.”

    I don’t see the issue is that the people were wrongly performing the ceremony, per se, but that ceremony, tradition and religious festival had become culturally ensnared instead of functioning as an outward symbol of an inward commitment. Righteousness was not being seen as something God bestows, but something that is gained by following the steps of tradition. Ceremony was no longer a type, a symbol, a parable of God’s relationship with and redemption for mankind; it had become a substitute for a relationship that is only found through living pure religion. Had tradition of the Law overextended its place as a cultural marker of the only nation who worshipped YaHWeH? Had tradition become the vine instead of the fruit of the true vine?

    I see the New Testament as a clearer lens through which to view this issue that Amos (and Isaiah) raises more so than the chosen D&C one. However, I would agree that if one is pursuing one’s culturally religious walk of obedience, tradition and loyalty as a symbol of an inward commitment that recognizes righteousness is granted by God, not by our merit of following said things with exactness, and that we are hearkening foundationally to the imperatives of pure religion, then the D&C scripture can be better harmonized. Otherwise, it is less clear, and could be interpreted to equate righteousness with legalistic exactness to sacraments and oblations.

  5. Thanks for saying it in that way, JfQ. I *think* that’s what BiV meant (at least, that’s how I took it), but it’s good to have the added perspective.

  6. I agree with you Ray. If I appeared critical of BIV’s comment I didn’t intend to. I read it that the Israelites were performing their festivals with the wrong spiritual intent, not the wrong process, form, wording, tradition, authority or whatever. Since “wrong” didn’t seem as precise a word, I just tried to add to the nuance by blathering on about intent. 😉

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