A call to action!
Isaiah 58: 1-12
1 Shout out, do not hold back!
Lift up your voice like a trumpet!
Announce to my people their rebellion,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 Yet day after day they seek me
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that practised righteousness
and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgements,
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.
5 Is such the fast that I choose,
a day to humble oneself?
Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush,
and to lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Will you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?
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 rearguard.
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.
If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
10 if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.
12 Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to live in.
This whole passage is a call to action, a hint, a nudge, a great big kick up the backside! What is faith, it asks, without humility and action? A question we see so ably answered in Jesus who, as well as being the son of God and knowing God’s ways, was raised in the Jewish faith. He will have known this scripture and the many others which point the way to an action based, practical, humble and loving faith.
Release the bonds of injustice, it cries, let the oppressed go free. Big actions, sweeping change across a system and a nation. Share your bread with the hungry, don’t hide yourself from your own family it goes on, Big Actions, meaningful moments in your neighbourhood and home.
We who are followers of God, whether we have been for years or this is our first day giving it a go, we are called by a power greater than we can imagine and it says you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in. Who can fail to be transformed when we engage in the transforming work God has asked of us?
God of the seekers, the ready to act and the nearly there,
Be our guide, be our help and be our message.
Help us to bring the world you hope for into being.
Bring us to a place of peace in our communities and in our own lives too.
Never cease to call us to action and give us the strength to answer your call.