Saturday, February 09, 2008

Called to a Different Fast

Today’s Lenten devotion was take from Isaiah 58:5-12. I really thought I was doing this right—the Lent thing that is! I had the right motives; I chose to “give up” something that was difficult for me to do without. But low and behold, Isaiah calls me to a different fast, one that requires a bit more consideration. (vs 6-7)

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 not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

What is my role, as a Christian in social consciousness? My son just wrote a paper about young people and their tendency to be so self- absorbed that the social injustices of the world don’t seem to be of much concern to them. Well, after today's devotion I have found the need for my own self-reflection in this area.

I have believed that as long as I didn’t knowingly purchase items known to be harmful to the environment or shop at places that are less than fair to their employees I was being socially responsible, but what if that isn’t true? What if, as a Christian, it is my responsibility to place a portion of my energy into "loosing the chains of injustice" in a more significant way and if so, how is this accomplished?

Perhaps it isn’t enough to simply recycle or give to “Feed the Children”. Maybe I am called to genuine action—to become aware of social injustices and do my part to bring them to an end. I don’t mean carrying picket signs or radical action (unless I am lead to do so), but taking small steps to bring social consciousness into my life.

Taking that first step, for me, begins with education. You can’t take a step, if you don’t have a clue where to go. I often view organizations like Greenpeace as being too radical. But God has given me a brain and a fair amount of discernment, so I could examine the information these types of organizations publish, do some research, pray and unearth (on my own) significant ways that I can take the first steps to fasting differently.

My views need to become more global and yet; on the other hand, my eyes and heart must become more attuned to the social ills right here—in my own community. After all, a journey of a thousand miles truly does begin with a single step.

This I know for sure…