Isaiah 58.1-12:

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.


             Yet day after day they seek me and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God.

             “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.

             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.


            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?

             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?

             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?


            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.

             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, 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.

             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. 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.


So, here we sit at Board Meeting again.

Here we sit bored at meeting again

trying to make these old church bones rise—


Arguing over the color of the carpet,

how to restore the stain-glassed windows,

which sort of music to sing, just what our mission

statement ought to be. Lamentations! Lamentations!


Then the scrape of God fingers runs down the blackboard,

Old Isaiah’s words pick wax from our ears—a prayer goes up!


God is not with us. God has gone out of our meeting

to meet the shout, to meet the prayer of the oppressed.

Bored with the Board, out God goes to

loose the bonds of injustice, to let the oppressed go free.

Out there, God calls us to walk the talk—

To share bread with the hungry,

bring the homeless poor into our house

to see the naked covered, to be present for our kin.


We who cry for help to make our creaking church bones rise

Can get it done, if only we say, “Here I am!”

Stop pointing the finger, stop speaking evil—

if only we offer food to the hungry,

Satisfy the needs of the afflicted ..,


Then shall our light rise in darkness and our gloom will be like the noonday.

Then the Lord will make our bones strong

And we shall be raised into Kingdomwork and our lives will shout

Glory! Glory! Glory! Glory to the Lord!

Rev. Dr. Larry Grimes

Bethany College