Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Acceptable Fast

“Is not this the fast that I choose:
    to loose the bonds of wickedness,
    to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
    and to break every yoke?
 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
    and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
    and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you,
    the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
    you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am.
Isaiah 58:6-9
This morning in church the scripture reading included one of my favorite chapters of Isaiah, chapter 58. It is in this chapter that the prophet speaks out against empty ceremonies and rituals, against paying lip service to God's call. This chapter shatters illusions (delusions) of grandeur on a personal and corporate level. These words of Isaiah, written 800 years before Jesus' birth cry out angrily against the sanctimonious people of Israel, but how much more relevant these words are, here in the land of misguided values and soul-less endeavors, here in the USA of 2014: 
“Cry aloud, spare not,
lift up your voice like a trumpet;
declare to my people their transgression,
    to the house of Jacob their sins.
 Yet they seek me daily,
    and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that did righteousness    and did not forsake the ordinance of their God...
As we continue to wait for Judge Price's decision on whether or not to grant Shane Watson a new trial
let us continue to hope that Judge Price will be led to make what Isaiah describes as the acceptable fast:
If you take away from the midst of you the yoke,    the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
if you pour yourself out for the hungry
    and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
    and your gloom be as the noonday.

By choosing to right a terrible wrong, Judge Price can create "light in the darkness". This light, God's love, outshines any ceremony or ritual. It creates healing and is worth more than a thousand empty words.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support for Shane Watson.

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