Today’s meditation comes from Isaiah 58. It’s a long one, but it’s so good. It’s titled “Fasting From Injustice.”

Shout loudly; don’t hold back;
    raise your voice like a trumpet!
Announce to my people their crime,
    to the house of Jacob their sins.
They seek me day after day,
    desiring knowledge of my ways
    like a nation that acted righteously,
    that didn’t abandon their God.
They ask me for righteous judgments,
    wanting to be close to God.
“Why do we fast and you don’t see;
    why afflict ourselves and you don’t notice?”
Yet on your fast day you do whatever you want,
    and oppress all your workers.
You quarrel and brawl, and then you fast;
    you hit each other violently with your fists.
You shouldn’t fast as you are doing today
    if you want to make your voice heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I choose,
    a day of self-affliction,
    of bending one’s head like a reed
    and of lying down in mourning clothing and ashes?
    Is this what you call a fast,
        a day acceptable to the Lord?

Isn’t this the fast I choose:

    releasing wicked restraints, untying the ropes of a yoke,
    setting free the mistreated,
    and breaking every yoke?
Isn’t it sharing your bread with the hungry
    and bringing the homeless poor into your house,
    covering the naked when you see them,
    and not hiding from your own family?
Then your light will break out like the dawn,
    and you will be healed quickly.
Your own righteousness will walk before you,
    and the Lord’s glory will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and God will say, “I’m here.”
If you remove the yoke from among you,
    the finger-pointing, the wicked speech;
    if you open your heart to the hungry,
    and provide abundantly for those who are afflicted,
    your light will shine in the darkness,
    and your gloom will be like the noon.
The Lord will guide you continually
    and provide for you, even in parched places.
    He will rescue your bones.
You will be like a watered garden,
    like a spring of water that won’t run dry.
They will rebuild ancient ruins on your account;
    the foundations of generations past you will restore.
You will be called Mender of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Livable Streets.

If you stop trampling the Sabbath,

    stop doing whatever you want on my holy day,
    and consider the Sabbath a delight,
    sacred to the Lord, honored,
    and honor it instead of doing things your way,
    seeking what you want and doing business as usual,
    then you will take delight in the Lord.
    I will let you ride on the heights of the earth;
    I will sustain you with the heritage of your ancestor Jacob.
    The mouth of the Lord has spoken.

 

Today I fasted from food while the sun was up. I didn’t eat anything from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but guys, let me tell you what happened.

Yesterday one of my super awesome coworkers bought my team of TAs Tiff’s Treats. If you’ve never had Tiff’s Treats, check yourself. They’re incredible and I probably get them once a year. So Tiff’s Treats gets delivered to us today with a note that says “SPED TA’S” and the inside says “You’re doing a great job!” which is a joke because Kym sent them to us from us, essentially. But there was this box of Tiff’s Treats just sitting in the classroom where I am most of the morning. And I didn’t eat any.

Then, about an hour later, I get a text from our administrative assistant saying I have a delivery at the front desk. Turns out, my darling husband has sent me an anniversary surprise! It is a small balloon, a card with a great haiku, and a big box of, wait for it, Tiff’s freaking Treats. So now I have TWO DOZEN COOKIES just staring at me all day.

When the devil set out to tempt Jesus, he told him to turn rocks into bread. For me, it was chocolate chip cookies being delivered into my hands.

I Googled “sundown tonight” and didn’t eat any of the cookies until 6:36 pm on the DOT. And they were delicious. The featured image to this post is an actual cookie that I am eating right now.

Isaiah tells us that the type of fasting that we should be choosing to do is one that takes place in the present progressive. It takes where we are in our everyday lives and moves us forward, challenging us to fight against injustice of all kinds, but especially fighting against slavery in all forms, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, and not being ashamed of who God made you to be. When we do those things, Isaiah says that all will be righted in our lives.

Then your light will break out like the dawn,
and you will be healed quickly.

The Methodist church has a fancy pants word for this kind of leveling up. We call it sanctification. The moments when we are so close to God we can feel her next to us. When all is right and good in our lives because we are in unison with God and God’s creation.

Today, instead of eating, I gave food to my homeless friend, Lester. Today, instead of eating, I donated $5 to a friend in need. Today, instead of eating, I spent more time serving my students and caring for their well being. Today, instead of eating, I was able to physically remember that God provides so much more for me than I could ever know. I was also able to remember how many men, women, and children go without food all the time. I remembered the period in my life when there were days where I didn’t get to eat anything unless someone gave it to me or I found it in the fridge at church.

Fasting today has helped to heal me. It gave me hope because I realized that I DO have will power over temptations. It helped me to see that my life is incredibly full despite my suffering. It helped me to move forward with determination in regards to infertility.

In my hunger today, I found strength. In my weakness, I found restoration. In my doubt, I found hope. All because I didn’t eat for 12 hours.

When we fast, it becomes so much more than just not doing something for a bit of time. When we fast and we fast in a way that allows God to move and be in us, our hearts and our eyes feel and see so much more than we could have ever anticipated. Fasting has made me brave and helped me to continue fighting to right atrocious wrongs in the world. Fasting has helped me be stronger than the opposition I face.

I hope that fasting can do these things and so much more for you.

Peace.

 

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