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Lent, justice, and how I treat my neighbors.

February 20, 2007

Isaiah 58

“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.'”

(from The Message)

So many things strike me from this passage. The kind of spiritual disciplines that God desires require compassionate reposnes to our neighbors. The kind of worship that God longs for takes structural injustice into account.

Are you depressed? Gloomy? Feel like your life has little meaning and is going nowhere? This passage is for us my friend! There are some strong promises in this passage that we can build or lives on… the cure for depression and the gloomies is not more introspection and trying to figure things out and getting free of wounds that mommy and daddy never intended but it hurt our feelings… waaaahhhhh. The cure is to get outside yourself and use whatever influence you have to help others. “But hey, I don’t have anything to give… I’m just a poor __________ (college student, young mother, newly wed with debt etc)” Here’s the thing: if you are reading this 999 out of a thousand you are not poor. And if you are reading this somewhere that is not a public library in a heated, lighted room you are most likely not poor. So if you come to me for Pastoral advice re: how to get over depression I’ll probably tell you “Go do something for someone with a real need and get over it!” This goes for me too. I’m not just trying to get the speack out of your eye. Trust me, i can barely see past the telephone pole sticking out of mine. This is for me as much as anybody else. May you experience the peace and joy of Christ in the measre you dish it out….

3 Comments leave one →
  1. chris permalink
    February 20, 2007 7:04 pm

    waaaahhhhh- classic! you can’t see me right now but my thumb and my pointer finger are moving in such a way that you would think of a very small violin.. (-:

    Can one teach well without projecting!? I would argue not.

    Thank you for your honesty and insight. We don’t hear/read enough on blame shifting.

  2. February 22, 2007 6:14 pm

    I think I agree. In this world of self analysis and inward journeys, the Gospel drives us to the “other”. However, I would be careful of painting this broad brush for cure to all depression. I am convinced that there is such a thing as clinical depression. This can and should be a great addition to medical approachs though.

  3. February 23, 2007 2:46 pm

    thanks for that kevin. my family is finding our own healing in this way…seeking to do follow after what the Father is doing, even daily…it’s been quite a road thus far – a better adventure i could hardly imagine – but we are now at the point where we are really bearing down in really helping our neighbors and those around us in our community, but also advocating on a bigger level. we recently had a great time at the maryland senate judiciary committee labouring to support the human trafficking legislation. after talking with senators and others, it looks like the committee will move the bill to the full maryland senate for a vote next week. Yet now we turn our attention and prayer towards the house of delegates judiciary committee, who we are told has held up this legislation for three years…looks like the house could be a struggle. we are meeting with the chairman next week, and then we will again witness to this before the committee on march 8th. continue with Your Plan O Jesus…and let justice roll down… as we practice the fast that the Lord has chosen.

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