Monday, August 30

The Kind of Fast God's After

I read these words last week, and they resonated, considering we're on a spending fast (or trying, anyway).
This is from Isiah 58:6-9, in The Message translation


"This is the kind of fast day I'm after:
   to break the chains of injustice,
   get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
   free the oppressed,
   cancel debts.
What I'm interested in seeing you do is:
   sharing your food with the hungry,
   inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
   putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
   being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
   and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
   The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
   You'll call out for help and I'll say, 'Here I am.'



Our fast wasn't started for spiritual reasons, really.  We weren't doing it as a way to pious exercise to please God, or try to look good.  Our intentions were mostly about being disciplined with our own finances, learning to be happy with what we have, and take a chunk out of our debt (which are all things that do please God, I think).  That being said, these words struck a cord.

I've been feeling lately like I'm not involved enough in things that matter, issues of social justice.  I want to do something, but it`s hard to figure out what that something is.  James and I have decided we`ll volunteer with Hamilton`s Out of the Cold program when it starts up again, and that`s ok, that`s good, but I still struggle.

See, God asks us here to give our bread.  God asks us to invite people into our homes.  Ya, it`s ok to participate in a cause that is meeting real needs, but it is a whole `nother ball game to develop relationships with people - which is what it would look like to be sharing my bread, my home.  That`s a relationship.

I have no idea how to do that.

That`s uncomfortable.  Embarassing, maybe. Frustrating, likely.  Dangerous, could be. Hard, certainly.
I can just hear people saying  "Is that a good decision?", " Is that wise?", "You have a family to think about...", "It's not your responsibility..."

But I still think that God meant it.  I think it's how change happens, in relationship.

And so, I need to figure out what it looks like, for me, here in Hamilton, to do it.  I need to figure out how to share my food with the hungry, invite the homeless poor into my home.

Jesus, show me how you want me to do this.  And give me the courage and wisdom to do it, actually do it, with your love and grace.

2 comments:

  1. I have the exact same struggles, Rach! I'm trying to figure out how to do that exact same thing, especially considering I don't own the house that I live in right now. Our local church has started serving a community breakfast every Sunday morning to all of the poor in our downtown area, which has allowed me the opportunity to just go and talk with the people every Sunday and build relationships while others do the cooking. It's been really cool to become a part of their community in that way and build friendships with them, and we've had some really great spiritual conversations as well! Maybe you could even do something like that out of your own house??? That would be so cool.

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  2. That's awesome... Erik and I were talking about that just this weekend as we were visiting up at my parent's cottage with friend's of the family who live in Isreal and work with people there to spread God's word through media, to try to counteract the hateful influences of the fundamentalist Muslims over there.
    We were sitting on the dock, enjoying the stars that we can't see here in Hamilton, and talking about how we don't want to go through life and look back thinking we sat around and did nothing of value, helped nobody in any significant way. And we've decided to spend time in thought and prayer to decide what we might do, as a couple, to reach out to others. Perhaps there is a new movement that needs to start up among Jesus followers today...

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