What Is Music to God’s Ears?

Take away from me the noise of your songs;

to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Amos 5:23–24

Heavenly Father, these are strong words about true worship, and what you crave from us, as your daughters and sons. It’s quite possible for us to love a worship service—the music, preaching, and liturgy—and yet the same service might deeply grieve and offend you.

So what kind of worship is “music to your ears”? Father, you haven’t left us in doubt. “Justice rolling like a river” and “righteousness flowing like a never-failing stream” are the “hymnody” for which you long, and the praise songs you enjoy. You are never more fully worshiped as when the Holy Spirit tunes our lives to love mercy, do justice, and walk humbly with you (Micah 6:8).

Father, forgive us for working harder at planning our services of worship than living as your worship servants in our communities. We can be just as clueless and disconnected as the priest and the Levite, in the parable of the Good Samaritan. They enjoyed your welcoming presence in corporate worship, then, right after the benediction, they proceeded to ignore glaring need right in front on them (Luke 10:25–37).

Father, as we make plans to regather for corporate worship, in our COVID-virus impacted cities, there will be restrictions on our corporate singing for a while. But there will never be restrictions on our caring for widows and orphans, fighting the injustices of racism and human trafficking, and feeding the poor and advocating for the marginalized.

May the lyric and music of the Gospel lead us into the dance of the Gospel—a lifestyle of missional living and sacrificial servanthood. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ glorious and grace-full name.