I missed yesterday because of babysitting and work for the refugee agency I volunteer for, so in actuality Thursday was productive. I liked the set up as to how we approach the rest of Lent in yesterday’s reading, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul.” Pretty hefty words in somewhat hedonistic world. Remember the bumper sticker quote from years ago? “He who dies with the most toys wins!” This quote has been attributed to Malcolm Forbes, but we can never be sure. It’s an odd quote because in reality he who dies with the most toys is dead and the toys are distributed to greedy inheritors. So that really doesn’t fly.
Todays reading from Isaiah goes a bit farther for us living people:
Is it not sharing your food with the hungry, and sheltering the homeless poor; if you see someone lacking clothes, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own kin?
Then your light will blaze out like the dawn and your wound be quickly healed over. Saving justice will go ahead of you and Yahweh’s glory come behind you. (Is 58:7-8)
Isaiah is talking to the living about fasting and holding up the personal vs the social action. It isn’t just wearing ashes on our foreheads or denying oneself of usual pleasures for 40 days, nope it is the suggestion of what is “pleasing” to the lord, is doing…doing something for our fellow human beings and not just telling everyone we are such a good person by listing all the things we “gave up.” So when someone asks you “What did you give up for Lent?” respond with “This is what I am doing for Lent.” And you know, doing something positive over and over becomes a habit becomes a way of life.
and so it goes…