Amos is one hot prophet, always a fascinating read. In today's passage, God speaks through Amos with an emphatic and harsh denunciation of nearly every act of worship, offering, and traditional religious practice by Israel. God wants nothing to do with their worship, their ritual, their observances of holy days, their singing or music - nothing!
What does God want? Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Clearly what they're doing is lots of worship stuff, and just as clearly what they're not doing is the vigorous practice of justice and righteousness for God's people. Justice and righteousness are the priority for God.
Worship, no matter how devoutly, consistently, and properly done, is a meaningless, contemptible turd pile if it's disconnected from God's demand for justice and righteousness for God's people. Does this say anything to dedicated church-goers today?
Jesus has a brief parable about two sons. He pulls this one out when he gets challenged by the chief priests and elders - the religious leaders in Jerusalem - because Jesus has cleared out the money-changers, performed healing at the Temple, and is busily offering his teachings. He is effectively posing a challenge to these religious leaders.
The religious leaders don't get what Jesus is all about, so Jesus poses the parable of the two sons. When the father (Father!) instructs the first son to go to work in the vineyard, the son says "no" but goes to work anyway. When the father instructs the second son to go to work in the vineyard, the son says "yes" and then doesn't go. Jesus then asks his audience, but primarily the chief priests and elders, Which one did the will of the father?
They answer, The first. Jesus spells out the complete answer to them in terms of the Kingdom of God, framed by "righteousness," just like Amos. Jesus has a harsh statement for the religious leaders to hear. Find out more and get the whole story, including what it means for church people today, in the sermon video below. Also, note the downloads below the video panel.