February 15

Isaiah 58:1-12

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them…? vss. 6a-7

The prophet imagines a conversation between God and Israelites who are wondering why their prayers aren’t being heard when they have been so faithful in making their temple sacrifices and keeping their ritual fasts. In the prophet’s estimation, God has a different agenda for them–they’ve missed the point of faith. We’re coming up on the season of Lent, a time in the church year that has been set aside for reflection on the suffering of Jesus and a commitment to spiritual disciplines. Often there are mid-week services and a call to “give something up for Lent.” Some see it as a time to model discipleship, to consider what it means to take up the cross and follow the Way. When these forty days are used for such reflection and for serious meditation on the meaning of repentance they can have real value in the life of a believer. A few might even choose to reflect on the challenges of Isaiah 58 and make serious commitments to seeking justice for the oppressed and the eradication of hunger. Such things are not just planks in a progressive political platform–they issue directly from the teaching of Jesus and the prophets. In this season of COVID there is so much we can do for the poor–perhaps this is the Lent when we actually do something!

Thought for the Day: What fast is God choosing for me this Lent?

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