I’ve invited a guest writer today. I thought he had some powerful words for our country and the church.
“Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the house of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. “Why have we fasted,” they say, “and why have you not noticed?”
Yet on the day of fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
-To loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke,
-To set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
-Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–
-When you see the naked, to clothe him, and to not turn away from your own flesh and blood?
THEN your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear;
Then the righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations;
You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”
I would like to say a special thank you to my friend and mentor, Isaiah, for his wise words today. It seems that there are many voices saying the same thing: feed the poor, clothe the naked, shelter the wanderer, stop oppression.
I will continue to bring words from other voices besides my own to reinforce this mission. It seems as if God really, really, really wants us to get it through our thick skulls that helping others is a giant key to everything. To relationships–with God and with people. To peace–with God and with people. To correcting wrongs–with God and with people.
Seems pretty straight forward and obvious. Cutting support for the poor is not what a Godly nation would do. Denying entry to those fleeing oppression is not what a Godly nation would do. Crying about OUR rights while stepping on others is not what Godly people would do. Social justice is not a new and evil cause championed by the progressive church. It had much larger and more important champions long before us.
So again, I’d like to say a special thanks to Isaiah for stopping by with his inspired words of wisdom today. He truly is a gift from God.