“Do you think the Lord wants you to give up eating and to act as humble as a bent-over bush? Or to dress in sackcloth and sit in ashes? Is this really what he wants on a day of worship?

I’ll tell you what it really means to worship the Lord.

Remove the chains of prisoners who are chained unjustly. Free those who are abused! Share your food with everyone who is hungry; share your home with the poor and homeless. Give clothes to those in need; don’t turn away your relatives.”

Isaiah 58:5-7

Often times when we think of fasting, we just think of not eating or skipping a meal. But Isaiah tells us that at the heart of fasting and the heart of worship is not giving up food, but instead making sure that others are able to eat. It’s not about not shopping, it’s making sure others have clothes. It’s about opening yourself up to new possibilities and new ways of loving your neighbors. 

“Fasting doesn’t have to be so black and white and all or nothing. It’s a gracious thing, not an imposition. It’s a gracious devotion rather than a rigorous one.” – Rev. Holly Boardman

One of my favorite songs of all time is “Dandelions” by Five Iron Frenzy. It’s a story about a little boy who picks dandelions for his mom. She beams with joy as she is presented these flowers that anyone else would see as weeds. So it is with God. 

When we give our best for others, when our hearts are open to seeing beauty in the weeds, God beams with joy. When we open ourselves up to see God’s beauty in the work that needs to be done, God rejoices. 

Today as you start your week, go knowing that God loves you in your strength, and God loves you in your weakness. Go into this week with an open heart and a clear mind, waiting and expecting God to move through you and to challenge you.