Tuesday, February 3, 2009

True Fasting

This Lenten season, millions of people all over the world will be fasting. The devout will abstain from eating or will curtail their eating habits in some way. This can serve as a powerful reminder that there are many more people in our world who hunger every day, and not by choice. I believe it is important that during this Lenten season we remember the words of the prophet Isaiah who spoke these words hundreds of years ago that remain true today:

"Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed
and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?

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?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness [a] will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I."

- Is. 58.5-9

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