“I Hate All Your Show” -God

Have I mentioned that I love music? I love music. Anyway, recently I have been binge-listening to Jon Foreman’s Limbs and Branches. The frontman for the band Switchfoot has released a couple of acoustic solo albums among which is Limbs and Branches. I am really loving it. It’s very melancholy and musing for the most part and turns anthemic at rare intervals.

Foreman is a terrific songwriter and sings very well too. I wish I could write songs like Jon Foreman. I once heard him say that sometimes he tries to write a song every day for a month. He said it’s a good discipline. I wish I’d have the discipline to write one once a month.

He is also great at communicating the messages in his songs with his voice. Most of the time, for me to enjoy a band’s music, no matter what the style, a frontman must do that.

I love most of the songs on the album, but in the midst of his musings about life, God, and his wife, there is a sudden, very harsh message. A wake-up call. It’s not even my favorite on the album but it has some very good stuff in it. The song is titled Instead of a Show. It is taken from the Bible, mostly in Amos 5:21-25 where God is talking to the Israelites about their hypocrisy. I wonder what God would say about us. Does the worshipping we do on Sunday match up with the rest of our lives? The song goes as follows:

Instead Of A ShowJon Foreman

I hate all your show and pretense
The hypocrisy of your praise
The hypocrisy of your festivals
I hate all your show
Away with your noisy worship
Away with your noisy hymns
I stop up my ears when you’re singing ’em
I hate all your show

Instead let there be a flood of justice
An endless procession of righteous living
Instead let there be a flood of justice
Instead of a show

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 plan
Quit playing religion games
There’s blood on your hands

Instead let there be a flood of justice
An endless procession of righteous living
Instead let there be a flood of justice
Instead of a show
I hate all your show

Let’s argue this out
If your sins are blood red
Let’s argue this out
You’ll be white as the clouds
Let’s argue this out
Quit fooling around
Give love to the ones who can’t love at all
Give hope to the ones who got no hope at all
Stand up for the ones who can’t stand at all
I hate all your show

Instead let there be a flood of justice
An endless procession of righteous living
Instead let there be a flood of justice
Instead of a show
I hate all your show

This song gave me what I think is an accurate depiction of how God feels when we go to church on Sunday and sing the songs well and say the right things. We know what all the right answers are. When it’s Sunday school time we join right in the discussion. When it’s time for hymns we lift our voices to blend with the ones around us. Everything looks great. But is it?

We even go to the trouble to look good and we “shine up our shoes for services, but there’s ‘blood’ on our hands.” It doesn’t even have to be real blood. We know from Jesus’ teaching in the New Testament that hating or mistreating  someone is just as sinful as killing them. Its effects may not reach as far, and it may not look as bad to others, but it’s still sin.

I like the line where he says “Quit playing religion games!” Wow! Do I ever turn my relationship with Jesus into little more than a game? Do I play around by doing mostly what I want, while trying to do just enough for God to get His blessings? I can’t keep giving God second best, and expect to get His best.

I wonder how disappointed God is when I sing His praises, but don’t mean it–when I give my time or my money, but I’m only doing it because I know I should, or because it looks good. God already knows my motives. He’s God. He isn’t fooled for a second.

This song makes me check my motives. It makes me remember that the things I do need to come out of my love for God. It’s not good enough if I’m just going down a checklist of stuff that impresses people and makes me feel good.

All of this said, I’ve heard it said that it’s never wrong to do the right thing. Do right and let God deal with your motives later. He can do that for us. I like this song. It reminds me that I need to let God fix some things in my relationship with Him.

lyrics credit in part to: http://www.lyricsmania.com/instead_of_a_show_lyrics_jon_foreman.html

Also: http://www.newreleasetuesday.com/lyricsdetail.php?lyrics_id=38120


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