“No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.“Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind. Then when you call, the Lord will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.” Isaiah 58:6-9 NLT
Is this not the fast that I should choose?
Is this not the fast that we should all choose?
To give up chocolate is difficult. To go out into the world seeking justice, determined to break people free from their chains is decidedly more so. Is this not the fast we should choose?
Today we begin Lent. This journey towards the good news. A time of reflection and pause, simplicity and focus as we journey towards the risen Lord. I find myself meditating today on Isaiah and the scene from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets where Fawkes the Phoenix bursts into flames to find himself reborn. From dust we have come and to dust we shall return but that is not the end of the story. We are so like the Phoenix. Cleansed in faith, washed clean through Jesus and purified in the fire of the Holy Spirit. This baptism may happen outwardly once in our lives but internally we are cleansed over and over again as we turn to Christ in relationship, as we seek new ways, better ways of living.
We enter this season anticipating the end of the story yet it is important we walk through it. Our life is a journey with Christ, in Christ and it is important to set aside time to contemplate what that means for our lives and ministry. From dust we have come and to dust we shall return but in Christ we find new life possible, in Christ we find that dust can perhaps give birth to something spectacular.
This year may we die to ourselves and be born again in Christ. May the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit burn bright in our hearts and renew us so that we may choose the fast of Isaiah, the fast of service to a world in pain.