Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? - Isaiah 58:6-7
Our new family church reality means that we don't necessarily know where we'll be worshiping from week to week. Our default setting has been First Congregational Church, but because of professional obligations (preaching, etc.), we haven't been there in three weeks. This peripatetic nature means that we tend to miss the rhythms of the church year. Suddenly, we looked up, and Ash Wednesday is not far away at all.
I usually try to choose a Lenten discipline - giving up something, taking on something - with mixed success. This year, I am doing what I can to take these words of Isaiah to heart. The prophet, speaking for God, challenges the people with the truth that God delights in fasting that follows in the footsteps of justice. The most faithful thing from which we can fast is injustice. This, I am convinced, is the way of Jesus.
And so, here is my intention for Lent, 2017: I will commit myself to do something each and every day to advocate for justice. I will call and write and visit my elected officials. I will take part in public demonstrations and vigils that have justice as their goal. I will donate to and volunteer with organizations that work to welcome the stranger, feed the hungry, free the prisoner, shelter the homeless.
And here's the thing: such a fast is not meant to be contained. There is nothing magical about the bounds of Lent. God's desire for us to promote justice does not come to an end once the stone is rolled away and the tomb is empty. Quite the opposite, in fact: those of us who celebrate the resurrection, who call Jesus Lord, we should be seeking justice as our full-time way of being in the world. It is our surest witness to God's perfect love.
What is the fast you choose?