Isaiah 58:2 Yet day after day they seek me and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God. 3 “Why do we fast, but you do not see? Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?” Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day, and oppress all your workers. 4 Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to strike with a wicked fist. Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high…6 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? 7 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 them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? 8 Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.
What a powerful passage from Isaiah. The point of a fast (eating little or nothing for a time) is not the fast itself. The point of a fast is a humbling of oneself before the Lord as we choose time with the Lord over physical nourishment. The idea is to take on the concerns and perspectives of God – to see and understand the world as God does (insofar as that’s humanly possible). This change in thinking and seeing should result in changed behaviors. By God’s grace we are invited to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a hurting world (v.6 – 7).
I’ve been writing this blog for a while now. There are days when I’m tempted to go through the motions rather than really invest myself in the process. Not good. But the greater question for me today is this – is this spiritual discipline of reading scripture and reflecting via this blog changing me from the inside out? Am I growing in capacity to reflect the heart of Jesus Christ in my world?
Lord, give us grace to embrace the change you desire for each of us. Do not give up on us Lord, but complete the good work in us you began in our baptism. Transform us from the inside out. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.