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Such Fasting as You Do Today

Mar 3, 2020

“Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high” (Isaiah 58 : 1 – 12)

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

This passage from Isaiah hit me like a hammer on Ash Wednesday. I said to one of my colleagues afterwards that we should have stopped the service right there – called for a period of silence and sent everyone home with those words ringing in our ears.

What need do we have of ashes to confront us with the uncompromising will of God and our feeble human response ?

A few days later I spent time listening to Bishop Jennifer of Indianapolis sharing her thoughts and reflections with us about compassionate leadership and the challenge of speaking the truth in love and truth to power.

These two events were so aptly juxtaposed – as so often these things are in the church ” thank God !

I come away from this with the focus in Lent for me on how to be faithful and loving in my behavior, in preaching and teaching -in counseling and spiritual guidance – in the light of God’s uncompromising demand for “the fast 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 … 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. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing spring up quickly….”

If I am to approach this manner of life and service – this faithfulness – even gradually – what do I have to give up? That’s the basic question of Lent. That for me is what ‘going deeper with God’ means.

Blessings and prayers for us all,
JOHN