Friday, 15 February 2013

3rd Day of Lent - Loose the Chains of Injustice

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke? 
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 
(Isaiah 58:6-7)

Why do we fast during Lent? Our priest said, the other day, that fasting helps us to remember what Jesus gave up for us: He gave up Heaven, power and glory, and then He gave up His relationship with God the Father and He gave up His life. Puts our fasting from chocolate/TV/Facebook/caffeine/(insert other pleasure here) into perspective, doesn't it. Fasting during Lent also helps us to identify with Jesus' 40 day fast in the desert after His baptism. Jesus' fast was part of His preparation to do God's work, and similarly our fasting should enable us to get closer to God in order that we can do the work He has planned for us. Fasting also affirms our dependence on God and upon each other. We can do nothing alone, and, as John Donne wrote, "No man is an island, Entire of itself."

So, we have to ask ourselves how our own fasting is bringing about a change of heart. In Isaiah, God told us that fasting is about fighting injustice, about making life better for those around us, putting others above ourselves. Fasting should be about sharing the wealth - giving up something to give to others.

There are so many ways to do this. We can donate to charity the money we have saved by giving up some treat; we can use the evening normally spent in front of the TV volunteering at a homeless shelter or praying for justice and freedom for the poor; we can spend the time we would have been on Facebook to email our MPs or sign petitions or join campaigns to "loose the chains of injustice." (Isaiah 58:6)

Church Action on Poverty is a charity committed to social justice through tackling poverty in the UK. They work in partnership with churches and with people in poverty themselves to find solutions to poverty, locally, nationally and globally. 

They are campaigning for fair taxes, fair pay, fair prices and a fair say. You can help them by getting involved with their 'Close the Gap' campaign to build a more equal society:
Give: Support their work with a donation.
Act: Become a part of their movement for change.
Pray: Unite with others to pray for a fairer society.

How is your fasting changing your heart?

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