Reading: Amos 8: 1-6
God proclaims to Amos that “the time is ripe for my people”. God is fed up with their preoccupation with money. Worship is no longer worship. They want to rush through their one hour of worship so that they can get back to turning a profit. To make matters worse, during their one hour ‘given’ to God their mind is filled with thoughts of how to get richer. The fact that they do not hear God’s message and call upon their hearts is revealed in the ways they exploit the poor and needy.
God’s desire is the same for us. When we sit down to spend time with God, He expects all of our being to be present. Our call is not to read the devotional or accompanying scripture as quickly as possible so that we can continue on with our day. God desires for us to linger a while, to allow His Word and message for us that day to soak in and to percolate deep within us. Our time with God should draw us in and transform and renew us.
The same is true on a Sunday morning or whenever we gather for worship. We are called to enter His house with thanksgiving in our hearts and praise on our lips. We are to be fully in His presence and to welcome the Spirit to move in us and around us. God hopes to touch our souls with the music, the words, the prayers. If our focus is elsewhere, we are not being authentic in our worship and we are not being honest in our relationship with God.
Each time we enter into His presence, whether in private or with our community of faith, may we be fully focused and wholly in His presence.