Instead of A Show.

In the course of time, Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. -Genesis 4:3-5

It wasn't Cain’s offering that God did not look on with favor, but his heart. His intentions. God doesn’t want us for what we can bring Him, rather He wants our hearts to be broken for Him. Our lives, from the inside out, to magnify the Father. Another verse in the book of Amos brings us back to this same concept. If we put the word festivals into context of today, I think it could be referring to how easily our selfish ambition this day in age to have state-of-art equipment and attend trendy conferences and gatherings can become an idol, in a sense. Lights, fog, songwriting, solos [instrumental/vocal/visual], new gadgets, lasers, environmental projection, IMAG…all of these things can easily become our ‘show and pretense’. God tells Israel quite frankly how He feels about how the idol of ambition has taken over what was meant to be sincere, heartfelt, broken, intimate worship:

I hate all your show and pretense—
the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies.
I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings.
I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings.
Away with your noisy hymns of praise!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice,
an endless river of righteous living. -Amos 5:21-24

…but impurity of heart vitiated all their works, and this was the reason that God rejected everything which the Jews thought available for holiness.

If you have never heard the song Instead of a Show by Jon Foreman {lead singer of Switchfoot}…take a couple minutes to listen to it.

One part that hit me was when it says:

Your eyes are closed when you’re praying;
you sing right along with the band;
you shine up your shoes for services
but there’s blood on your hands;
you turned your back on the homeless
and the ones that don’t fit in your plans
quit playing religion games
there’s blood on your hands…

Wow. You sing right along with the band {lifting up our hands unto God}.
But there’s blood on our hands -- we seemed to have it all figured out, right down to the shiny shoes but there’s blood on our hands.
Blood on our hands…

Contemplating on this for awhile.