Saturday, March 2, 2013

Your fast days...

Isaiah 58 has totally rocked my world tonight. I read it 3 times in a row as tears flowed down my cheeks. I usually try not to depend on The Message version too much for true interpretation, but this was too powerful to ignore. Conviction swept through the little crevices in my soul. Especially during this season of Lent.

The Hebrew word for the word "fast" means to "cover the mouth" or "abstain." The purpose is to turn our eyes off the things of this world and back onto God in order to help us remember that we are not self-sufficient. That only God can satisfy our souls.

Isaiah 58:1-9

“Shout! A full-throated shout!

Hold nothing back—a trumpet-blast shout!
Tell my people what’s wrong with their lives,
face my family Jacob with their sins!
They’re busy, busy, busy at worship,
and love studying all about me.
To all appearances they’re a nation of right-living people—
law-abiding, God-honoring.
They ask me, ‘What’s the right thing to do?’
and love having me on their side.
But they also complain,
‘Why do we fast and you don’t look our way?
Why do we humble ourselves and you don’t even notice?’

“Well, here’s why:

“The bottom line on your ‘fast days’ is profit.

You drive your employees much too hard.
You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight.
You fast, but you swing a mean fist.
The kind of fasting you do
won’t get your prayers off the ground.
Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after:
a day to show off humility?
To put on a pious long face
and parade around solemnly in black?
Do you call that fasting,
a fast day that I, God, would like?

“This is the kind of fast day I’m after:

to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
cancel debts.
What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’

Lent is something I've never participated in or even thought about. But I thought I'd give it a shot this year not realizing the effect it would have in just 2 weeks.
I decided to give up Facebook on my phone. I deleted the app. And because I don't have my own laptop, I just use Jeff's laptop at the end of the day to "check in" with Facebook. I thought that when I would get to finally look at facebook at the end of the day that I would be on forever trying to catch up on the scoop of everyone's life. I'm finding that I don't even desire to know. And in all reality, why did I ever think that the countless duck lips poses, gun control rants, and to be honests were anything I needed to know about? And if my relationship with Christ is judged one more time by whether or not I like his picture or keep scrolling, then I'm going to scream.

Its a shame that Lent has been portrayed as a Christian version of the New Years Resolution. I am realizing that it should be so much more than that. To be "more self disciplined" is not the point. To profit from fasting to show a "better version of yourself" is not the point either. Because we all know that to make more of us is to make less of God.

I thought I'd miss it, but now I'm realizing that it is liberating. I have time to "be available to my own family" as this scripture says. I have freed up mental capacity to think about the injustice that concerns our God. I pray that this is just the beginning of liberating my time and energy to know my God more. That through my tiny sacrifice of facebook that I would cling instead to His sacrifice on the cross and more importantly, his resurrection. I pray that God will show me how to turn my fast days into the kind of fast days that He is after. The kind that shows love and compassion to the least of these. The kind that makes less of me and more of Him.