Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the bondage, to let the persecuted going to go, and to break every yoke? -Isaiah 58:6
Last year at this time, parties in the United States were not fully aware of COVID-1 9’s actuality, let alone what it would do to our nation and the world within the coming months. We have now been living in pandemic mode for eleven months and our lives have changed in ways we could have never foresaw. I sounds the stories of weariness and feel it from every line-up. The doubtful loss with no clear culminate in sight, adjustment lethargy, and personal loss have worn down even the hardiest someones in one behavior or another.
Today’s Lesson from Isaiah 58:1 -1 2 speaks in the midst of our weariness. I remember sounding the fus of people across the church appropriating this motto, “Is this not the fast that I choose” because we were unable to participate in the Eucharist and receive communication, attempting to reorient the “fast” as a spiritual penalty. The Rev. Heidi Haverkamp wrote an excellent piece on this topic for the Episcopal Cafe last-place April, so I am not going to focus on that now. Instead, consider how the river of term has spurted, making us and our pandemic know with it, and how this has changed the space we interpret the moving now.
Then, amid the uncertainty about what was happening, we hoped that the pandemic would be under control by the autumn. When this did not happen, we were obliged again to reimagine what faith looks like and what it means to be a Christian. Many of the gauges on which we relied before the pandemic have been washed away or submerged underwater. Simultaneously, these equivocal water have also fetched forth real creativity and relevant involvement of the Gospel for modern times which will influence the way we amass as Christians in the future.
Ash Wednesday falls on February 17 th this year, and our ever-changing brand-new regular will certainly impact the route we approach Lent. Isaiah writes about the disgruntled Israelites complaining and wondering why God dismiss them:’ Why do we fast, but you do not visualize? Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice? ’( v. 3 ). Isaiah replies,
Look, you help your own interest on your fast-day, and oppress all your workers. 4 Look, you fast simply to quarrel and to fight and to strike with a wicked fist. Such fasting as you do today will not compile your articulate listen on high.
In some behaviors, we sound like the Israelites. We are tired of fasting. We are exhausted by not having things the road we want them. Our tantrums are short. Our funds are running short, and many of us cannot experience God in the midst of this. How then, are we to get the relief we endeavour?
Alfred Adler, in his theory of Individual Psychology, wrote that mental health could not be poised by oneself–there must be a community vistum to it. He announced that’ social interest’ or’ community feeling’. When a patient would come to him in a depressive humor, he would admonish them to make a cup of tea for their neighbor and reflect on how they felt after. He noticed that they always felt better, even if it was just a little bit. Loving one’s neighbor as oneself, one of our baseline precepts as Christian beings , is not simply draws us into deeper affinity with God, but is a path to mental wellbeing.
In light of this, what would it be like if we chose a different fast this Lent, the one that Isaiah acquaints in the next part of the passage?
6 Is not this the fast that I elect: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the persecuted go free, and to break every servitude? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your live; when you accompany the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? 8 Then your light-footed shall break forth like the morning, and your healing shall spring up immediately; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard.
This is still our call–to reach out to others and accept that others may be reaching out to us in our wearied and downtrodden state. May we invite God to help build a community amidst our losses and distress. With God’s help, we can be revitalized by God’s light-footed transgres forth like the dawning, and may our healing spring up quickly.
The Rev. Danae M. Ashley, M.Div, MA, LMFT is an Episcopal priest and wedding and family therapist who has ministered with churches in North Carolina, New York, Minnesota, and is serving part-time as the Associate Rector at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Seattle and a therapist at Soul Spa Seattle, LLC. She has written for a number of publishings, displayed a play-act, and has been peculiarity on several podcasts involving birthrate striving and sect. Danae’s favorite past times include reading, traveling with her husband, dancing with wild abandon to Celtic music, and serious karaoke.
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