February 25

Isaiah 58:1-12

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?” vs. 6

Isaiah 58 should be required reading for any who presume to God-fearing believers. The prophet was fed up with folks who claim to be religious, but who have no heart for the poor or the hurting. He tells his hearers and us that our fasting is pointless if it’s focus is our own spiritual well-being. His words are a good reminder for those who use the season of Lent to meditate on scripture and to practice a discipline. We are not isolated beings or rugged individuals in the eyes of God. We’re a part of a community, and will consider the needs of the oppressed and the helpless as much or more than we do our own. It’s a travesty when people of faith rail against immigrants and welfare recipients and seek to cut benefits for the poor. How did we manage to get so far off track? Don’t we know that God is not pleased with our single-minded devotion to accumulation and the privileges of power? Isaiah’s words are a wonderful wake-up call for all who have been seduced by the glitter and glamour that have captivated our society. At the very least Lent will become for us a season of reflection on the dark side of our economic advancements. Oppression is alive and well in our world–and our call is to work for justice.

Thought for the Day: How can an individual bring about systemic change?

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