7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
Perhaps these sound familiar? If so, you remember that Jesus said much the same in Matthew’s Gospel, in his parable of the Last Judgment and the separation of the sheep and the goats. If anyone thinks that God’s teachings concerning justice begin in the New Testament, this is just one of the passages from Isaiah that would disprove that.
It’s kind of interesting to me, but Lent and Advent seem to be the two seasons of the year that turn people’s hearts to God. During Advent we see a spirit of generosity that extends to those who have less, particularly to children. Although it’s easy to think that all the talk about Santa Claus, or whatever name is given to him in different traditions, people are more willing to serve in soup kitchens, or knit for the homeless, or donate toys to community organizations. Lent brings out another spirit, that of increased introspection that encourages us to see where we have failed and where we can do better. Churches often add services because they know that more people will make the time to attend them or that people are more willing to think about Jesus’ sacrifice and look for ways of helping the less fortunate.
How will you “fast” this Lent? You can give up time to help someone who might need a visit, or a phone call to let them know someone is thinking about them. Maybe, there’s a community issue that can use your support. Maybe it’s just taking more time to pray for peace in this world or for an end to violence in the home. Whatever you choose, whatever I choose, may all that we do be pleasing to God.
Lord, you showed us how to live and you showed us the way to work for justice and peace in our world. Be with us during these forty days as we renew our efforts to live as we should. Amen.