Boletim dos Obreiros

June Festivities

I hate, I despise your feast days” (Amos 5:21)
I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation” (Amos 8:10)

June is the month of the animated “June festivities”. For a long time they have been part of the religious calendar of the “traditional church”. Their motive was to celebrate three “saints” declared by the same church: Saint Anthony (13th), Saint John (24th) and Saint Peter (29th). It is fitting to remember that the “positional sanctification” of the sons of God is not effected by popish edict, but in the act of exercise of saving faith having as a basis the Redemptive Work effected by Jesus Christ.

The “religious sense” of these events was surpassed, long ago, in their celebration for they have become only an excellent opportunity to satisfy the desires and pleasures of the “flesh”, becoming secular feasts which do not contribute in anything to the spiritual benefit of those participating, often with bad consequences and irreversible damages..

It is deplorable to see that not just a few who declare themselves “believers” take part in them, associating themselves with their licentious and pagan practice, in an affront to God.

Thinking about them I was led to the texts of this “Theme of the Month”, in Amos 5:21 and 8:10. The prophet isn’t referring to the “June festivities” of course, which didn’t exist in those days, but to the solemn feasts determined by God as part of the religious ceremonial, which expressed the good relationship the people ought to have with Him, proving their spirituality. There was to be serious contrition in their practice, sincere praise and authentic worship, giving Him pleasure and blessing the people.

In these texts we find the hurtful reproval and repudiation by God of the behaviour of the people, who subverted the spiritual sense of such feasts, turning them into instruments of orgies, immorality, corruption and satisfaction of pleasures of the flesh (see the context). We read the same thing in Isaiah 1:11-15. How sad! They adulterated what the Lord had determined for their spiritual well-being, transforming all into a sinful practice, which displeases God and curses man!

I am referring to the “June festivities” in this Theme of the Month, only as an illustration of the commentary. I am not admitting that they were instituted by the will of God and for our blessing. They have to do with religious tradition. I only associate these ideas to illustrate something deplorable which occurs in proclaimed “solemn gatherings” where practices are carried out lacking in spirituality, in their methods and programmes, and in their attitudes and aims. We see this in some “solemn gatherings” of our days, like those in the days of Amos. This is why they were reproved by God. The “June festivities” properly illustrate this behaviour. Let us see:

  1. The coloured balloons which climb, but do not reach heaven, in their route of pale and intermittent luminosity. They soon drop with their torches out though still smoking, ending by being pulled to bits darkened by smoke, in the hands of those who furiously hunt them, when they don’t become the cause of destructive fires with deaths and huge losses to society. Some “solemn gatherings” of our days are like this. They turn up with false beauty and formal enthusiasm, but do not reach heaven; they have a short course with a pale and intermittent shine, going out darkened by the smoke of false motivation and in pieces in the hands of the enemy, often causing serious disasters in the “religious” community.
  2. The burning bonfires with high flames fed by dry wood and useless branches, warming the ambience where there is carnal euphoria, and stimulating the agitation of sensual dances, of immoral attitudes, of orgies and of generalised depravation. They warm food and drink which lead to drunkenness and violence, desegregating and destroying families and the virtue of the young, establishing deep and irreconcilable enmities, and annulling precious values. Soon the bonfire goes out, and all that is left are useless ashes, tiredness and frustration at the end of the festivity, the disgrace and the large black stain on the soil, to remind one that the sad end is no more than darkness. Such are some “solemn feasts”, which are more like the burning bonfires of the “June festivities”, a reminder of the consuming fire of hell. They are fed by actions which are like “dry wood and useless branches”, quickly consumed. As the saying goes: only “fire of straw”! The questioned “religious event” is agitated by multiple manifestations of vain euphoria, under the pretence of religiosity, with much instrumental noise, body movement, all in the shape of worldly shows, many songs without spiritual content, with the “artistic” assistance of sensual dances, producing much emotion but no spirituality. At the end, they are left only with the ashes of the attraction which represented such a “solemn feast”, exhaustion and great frustration, in the contemplation of the evil black mark of an extinguished bonfire, a reminder of the darkness in which all have been immersed.
  3. The fireworks so loved by the party-goers. A multiple sequence of noisy and coloured rockets are projected into space, which fill the eyes for a few moments, with their brightness and shining colours, making exotic shapes. It is good to see! But soon the spectacle ends, leaving only thick and uncomfortable smoke filling the space which before had been so pretty, choking us, irritating our eyes and wiping out completely all the beauty we had seen. Such are some of the “solemn feasts” of our days. They are like firework displays. Very noisy and even pretty to see. But they are only good for the eyes, not for feeding the soul, for raising the spirit and quietening the heart. As soon as they come to an end, they only leave the smoke of their uselessness, which chokes us and deeply irritates us. We leave the “solemn feast” spiritually empty. It was simply a noisy “firework display” though sometimes pretty to see. It only touched our emotion, finally resulting in a sentiment of sad frustration.

Let us go back to the text. There are “solemn feasts” which are like the “June festivities”. There is therefore total and present day application to them of the Word of God, said by Amos: “I hate, I despise your feast days” (5:21); “I will turn your feasts into mourning and your songs into lamentation” (8:10). May the “June festivities” cause us to reflect on these truths!

Explanatory note: in this “Theme of the Month” we are not referring to the “solemn feasts” or “spiritual feasts” which are carried out in the fear of the Lord and in accordance with the Biblical standard, aiming exclusively towards His Glory and the spiritual edification of His people. There are talents and personal abilities which God can use as adequate and useful instruments in His service. After all, the “feasts” and “holy gatherings” which the Lord reproved and refused, were established by Him. Such refusal was due to the demeaning of the manner in which they were carried out, the unspiritual attitude adopted, and the aims turned away from His solemn purpose. The spirituality of the participants, the edification of the people of God, the consecration of behaviour and of purposes aiming at the Glory of the Lord and not that of the participants, will prevail over all in these events. All must be done with humility, not in the flesh but in the Spirit, not as a human spectacle to be applauded, not exalting the human person, but God, Who must be worshipped with correct praise and authentic adoration. Under these conditions “solemn gatherings” and “spiritual feasts” are desirable. Such spiritual events have nothing to do with “June festivities”.