Worthless Offerings

Zion’s Hill United Methodist Church, August 7, 2022

John I. Carney
12 min readAug 7, 2022

(Photo from u/Synofe on https://www.reddit.com/r/wallpaper)

Isaiah 1:1, 10–20 (CEB)

The vision about Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah, Amoz’s son, saw in the days of Judah’s kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.

Hear the LORD’s word, you leaders of Sodom.
Listen to our God’s teaching,
people of Gomorrah!
What should I think about all your sacrifices?
says the LORD.
I’m fed up with entirely burned offerings of rams
and the fat of well-fed beasts.
I don’t want the blood of bulls, lambs, and goats.
When you come to appear before me,
who asked this from you,
this trampling of my temple’s courts?
Stop bringing worthless offerings.
Your incense repulses me.
New moon, sabbath, and the calling of an assembly —
I can’t stand wickedness with celebration!
I hate your new moons and your festivals.
They’ve become a burden that I’m tired of bearing.
When you extend your hands,
I’ll hide my eyes from you.
Even when you pray for a long time,
I won’t listen.
Your hands are stained with blood.
Wash! Be clean!
Remove your ugly deeds from my sight.
Put an end to such evil;
learn to do good.

Seek justice:
help the oppressed;
defend the orphan;
plead for the widow.
Come now, and let’s settle this,
says the LORD.
Though your sins are like scarlet,
they will be white as snow.
If they are red as crimson,
they will become like wool.
If you agree and obey,
you will eat the best food of the land.
But if you refuse and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword.
The LORD has said this.

Some of you may know me from the 35 years I spent at the Shelbyville Times-Gazette, but now I work for county government. Part of my job has to do with mapping, using a type of software called GIS which lets you combine different layers of data — let’s say, a layer of highways, and a layer of water lines, and a layer of property lines — and look and them and study them in different ways.

Because of the pandemic, I didn’t get any training when I started that part of the job, so I’m still in the process of learning, through various online courses and tutorials and websites and what have you.

An acquaintance of mine who just knew that my job had to do with mapping texted me, just this week, to say that he had recently moved, and that whenever he tried to look…

John I. Carney

Author of “Dislike: Faith and Dialogue in the Age of Social Media,” available at http://www.lakeneuron.com/dislike