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?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator shall go before you,
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.
If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
It's sobering to realise
that our alcohol free Lent
doesn't make any difference
to the addict who has lost everything of value in life.
Or that our fasting leaves no impression
on the hungry
Our spending more time in the house of God
does not offer the homeless shelter
And our prayers do not bring about justice.
Our Lenten journey misses the mark
when we retreat into piety
and shelter in the Spirit
instead of stepping out
tentatively or boldly
on the path that God treads.
Feeding the hungry,
welcoming the homeless
speaking up for the oppressed
freeing those imprisoned
by hopelessness and depression.
Those are the tasks
that make our Lenten journey worthwhile.
Going into those wilderness spaces
that folk endure every day
and seeing the footprints of Christ
who has travelled this way before us
and who shows us how to journey
caring for one another
sharing love and compassion
making a difference along the way.
That is what Lent requires.