Lent begins today, which for the past few years has been something simple like, “no Dr. Pepper.” It isn’t necessarily easy, but it’s simple. Not only that, if I’m honest with myself, it’s pretty useless, too. Especially juxtaposed with what Isaiah says below.
“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,
“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.’
“If you get rid of unfair practices,
quit blaming victims,
quit gossiping about other people’s sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down–and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
“I will always show you where to go.
I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places–
firm muscles, strong bones.
“You’ll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You’ll be known as those who can fix anything,
restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
Make the community livable again.”
What if we made a list of those things and tried to do them between now and Easter in Christ’s name? Does that sound too much like “rule-keeping” or is it simply a good goal? What do you think?