This blog comes to you from the people at
Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO
Meditation and thoughts follow the scripture.
Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/
1Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
2Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
4Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.
5Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.
6You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
10Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
11Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.
13Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
14Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
15O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
16For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
17The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
18Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
19then you will delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
58Shout 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. 2Yet 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.
3“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. 4Look, 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. 5Is 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? 6Is 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? 7Is 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?
8Then 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. 9Then 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, 10if 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. 11The 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. 12Your 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.
18At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2He called a child, whom he put among them, 3and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. 6“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea.
7Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes!
Fasting was such an important part of religion during Jesus’ ministry and a significant part of Jesus’ own spiritual practice that it needs reexamination. During Lent our church is looking at those spiritual disciplines that we can undertake in our own spiritual formation. Part of this morning’s blog will be included in tomorrow’s sermon, so join us for church, or read the sermon online at opensimplechurch.wordpress.com
Please look carefully at the words of Isaiah: Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? 6Is 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?
For the last few months I have been enjoying and learning so much from Isaiah, and this morning is no exception. I have the impression, which I slowly will try to verify over time, that Isaiah was one of Jesus’ favorite scriptures, and a favorite of his disciples. So much of what I read in Isaiah speaks loudly of one who loves Jesus, as does this scripture.
Once again, we humble disciples of Jehovah and Jesus read the words of encouragement and community in loving the oppressed, rescuing the oppressed, feeding the oppressed.
So, even though this scripture is talking about fasting (which is an important spiritual practice) it also redirects us to think that feeding the oppressed is more important than restricting our own food intake. It is more important to consider who is hungry than to make ourselves hungry.
Pray today for those children who are hungry and pray that the resources of this abundant world be shared equally among all people, all races, all classes, all nations. Share.