June 6th Weekly Meditation
"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?" (Isaiah 58:6-7)
Here in chapter 58, the prophet Isaiah is calling out the people for their hypocrisy on God's behalf. The people complain that they pray and fast and keep every law and yet God has seemingly ignored them. They want to know, when will they be rewarded for their righteousness?
The prophet points out they fast only to, "serve your own interest," and still quarrel and fight and, "strike with a wicked fist." This is not fasting, the prophet tells them. This will not make their voices heard by God. Simply humbling oneself in sackcloth and ashes is not what God really wants.
What does God want? Change.
No more turning a blind eye to injustice and oppression.
No more letting your neighbor go hungry or homeless.
No more turning away from the needs of the world as if they don't matter to you.
Things need to change, the prophet is saying. Things need to change.
Things have gone unchanged in our world for far too long. It has been pointed out that Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered over 50 years ago. His quotes, which people are posting all over social media, should not still be relevant. They are, because so little has changed. We have not taken on systemic racism and we have not confronted our own white privilege.
Again, more than 50 years ago President Lyndon Johnson declared a "War on Poverty." The long lines we see at food banks in the midst of this pandemic show us once again how little has changed. We have not addressed the root causes of poverty or sought to lift up those caught in its vicious cycle.
The prophet Isaiah was speaking to a people who had hit rock bottom in the form of the exile. He was doing what prophets do which is calling the people back to faithfulness. Even as they are about to start over, Isaiah is telling them it cannot be the same old thing. And Isaiah promises them that if they are able to change their ways and bring justice to their land, "Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly." Yes, change is scary. But God's promise is a better world if we are willing to take the leap of faith and do the work that needs to be done.
This world has got to change. And each of us needs to be a part of it.
And that's what the Bible is for.
Worship This Week
Sunday, June 7, 9am in the Peace Garden
If you choose to come please wear a mask and practice social distancing
Worship will also be available to watch on Facebook & our website, www.monroevilleucc.org
Keep In Prayer:
Our shut-ins: Harriett Ryerson, Kate Shelley, Dot Ann Smith, Nora Smith, Helen Payne