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Ash Wednesday: Isaiah 58:1-12 February 24, 2015

Posted by Ventura Dreamer in Blogroll.
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Unfortunately this comment on society is no different today than it was in the time of Isaiah:

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 . . .
. . . Look, you serve your own
interest on your fast day,
and oppress all your workers.

The Pope made a spectacular suggestion this week:  instead of giving up chocolate or beef for Lent, try giving up feeling superior, distrust or dislike for the poor or homeless.

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?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and to bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
. . . Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer . . .
. . . and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.

Tim Whitaker, a retired United Methodist bishop, comments on how fasting among our denomination is not practiced much. Many of us, myself definitely included, have forgotten one of Wesley’s General Rules was to practice “fasting or abstinence”. He points out that Jesus said “whenever you fast”, “if you fast”.

Whitaker describes various ways people fast or abstain from certain foods or actions.

However we do it, fasting is an offering to God to overcome being and doing what we want so that we may be and do what God wants.

And he reminds us what type of fast God really wants from us, what Micah said God requires: that we do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.

Joanie Friedman, preached this past Sunday as our new Lay Leader. She said a number of uneasy truths about our congregation and talked about how many of us need to give up control and wanting to do things on our own. Thinking we can do things without help, or in my case, realizing a task is easier when we don’t have to explain or train anyone else, is perhaps something to abstain from. Living more humbly and being more patient and kind (that’s love!) is what I will work towards this Lenten season. Lord, help me!

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