Posts tagged fasting.

Lent: Learning to Suffer? Or Learning to Love?

From Rev. Emily C. Heath, follow her here: Twitterwww.twitter.com/calledoutrev

Lent is ideally a time of deepening our spiritual life and our connection to Christ. That might be a spiritual practice like prayer, worship attendance, or Scripture reading. But, ideally, it can be something that doesn’t involve only our own lives. It can be something that changes the lives of others as well. Lent has a long, sometimes forgotten, history in the church as a time when we are especially reminded to work for justice. Which makes sense when you think of this as a 40 day journey that we make with Christ, the one who taught us to love our neighbor as ourselves.

So what could a justice-oriented Lent look like? What would it look like if instead of passing up a Snickers bar, we passed on the love of Christ by feeding our neighbors who don’t have the luxury of turning down food? What would it mean if instead of logging off, we logged on and made a donation to a worthy cause? Or what if instead of giving up something we already have the right to do everyday, we instead decided to devote our energy to making sure all of God’s children have the same rights?

Lent could be radically different if we reclaimed it not as a time of giving up the small things, but instead of taking on the big things. If we really want to walk with Jesus during these 40 days, why not first start by going to the places we are likely to meet him and already find him at work? Why not use these 40 days to try to become the people Christ talked about his disciples being during his own walk towards Good Friday, and ultimately Easter morning? People of love and compassion and justice…

As the saying goes, “Less talk, more walk,”

Isaiah 58: 6-12

6 “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? 
7 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 them, 
   and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 
8 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. 
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; 
   you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

   “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, 
   with the pointing finger and malicious talk, 
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry 
   and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, 
then your light will rise in the darkness, 
   and your night will become like the noonday. 
11 The LORD will guide you always; 
   he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land 
   and will strengthen your frame. 
You will be like a well-watered garden, 
   like a spring whose waters never fail. 
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins 
   and will raise up the age-old foundations; 
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, 
   Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

02.23.12 ♥ 1