Pastor Tiffany Hollums decided that each day during Lent, she would choose a word to prayerfully reflect upon. A volunteer suggested reading the lectionary texts and then choosing a word that stood out from those passages. She is sharing those reflections here and hopes to inspire our readers to join in her journey.
This passage from Isaiah is powerful and worth spending time to read and let it simmer:
Isaiah 58: 6-9
6 Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the straps 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 rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry for help, and he will say, “Here I am.”
If you walk in ‘Lenten circles’, there is great talk about what people give up for Lent. I’ve heard very creative things over the years that people will give up during these 40 days. This passage from Isaiah is prophetic for us because it asks very pointed questions regarding fasting:
Is your fast breaking the chains of injustice?
Is it setting oppressed people free or feeding the hungry?
Bringing homeless into your home?
THIS is the kind of fast that God wants, which makes some of our ‘giving up sweets or fancy coffee fasts’ come sharply into focus, or at least it does for me. How is my fast truly impacting the world in a way that is helping others? How could my fast heal hurts and bridge injustices?
I’m convicted to rethink these 40 days. To spend real time letting these questions burn a little and see what might happen if I spent these remaining days to draw closer to those around me who are in need or oppressed. To use the energy and thought I put into ‘giving up’ something that I never really needed in the first place, to SEE and help those all around me who are suffering. Why not take on some of their hurt, ease their hunger, or learn about just what injustices people are facing?
Lord, open my eyes to the chains of injustice and hunger all around me. Show me how I might ‘fast’ in a way that blesses others.