‘Why do we fast, but you do not see? Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?’ Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day, and oppress all your workers.” vs. 3Isaiah 58:1-5
The prophet lived among people who had carefully preserved all the trappings of religiosity. They worshiped regularly and kept all of the prescribed fasts. Their external piety was beyond approach–yet God remained remote to them. So the prophet tells them in no uncertain terms that their faith practices are self-serving and have nothing to do with what God desires. His words were echoed by Jesus and deserve to be regularly proclaimed from the pulpits in every Christian congregation.
We too fall in love with the externals of faith, regularly worshiping, reading scripture, praying, and maintaining a pious attitude in the course of daily living. And at the same time, many of us support the oppression of workers and defend the privileges of the rich. Under our watch the number of homeless people is steadily increasing, and for many the number one concern is keeping them out of the public view. Admittedly these are difficult issues and simple solutions elude even our best efforts, but there is no way that we can even imagine we can separate our Sunday behaviors from the concerns of those who live in poverty. God is blessed more by our work with asylum seekers than by any of our fasting and praying.
Thought for the Day: Why are so many reluctant to help the poor?