Read 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.

 

from Thaddaeus B. Allen, Regional Minister

            The living God is in our midst.  In the midst of this holy Lent, God hears our cry and in amazing ways declares “Here I am.”  In this season, the Church is invited to participate in the wondrous mystery of God.  We are invited to open our whole selves to God.  Let us not hold back.  As stewards of the season we are given the wonderful privilege of bearing light and offering healing to the world.  The One who is present with us, and who has marked us in the waters of our baptism, calls to us to consider the other.  In God’s economy light is to shine on the hungry, the afflicted, the broken and the lost.  Proper use of these 40 days (not counting Sundays which are always Little Easters) will find us watering and repairing and giving light.  Proper use of this time frees us from our impulse to oppress and opens us to the freedom to love.  In these very days, God declares God’s presence.  May we be present to others as God is present to us.  May our time of fasting, preparation and penitence be marked by new generosity as we share our baptized selves with others.  May this Lent be a time when we devote ourselves to repairing breaches, to restoring the streets we live on, and to bearing the light of Christ.  This Lent may our light break forth like the dawn.

May we hear your call, O God, and may we make a fast that is pleasing to you.  Help to remember our baptism in these days, and make us ever mindful that you have created us to be light to the world.

Prayerscapes for Lent is presented by the Order of Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia.  ©2013.  All rights reserved.  Duplication and distribution for profit is not permitted.

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