Some people want to live within the sound of chapel bells,
but I want to run a mission a yard from the gates of hell.
Is this not what I require of you as a fast?
To loose the fetters of injustice,
to untie the knots of the yoke,
to snap every yoke and set free those who have been crushed?
Is it not sharing your food with the hungry,
taking the homeless poor into your house,
clothing the naked when you meet them,
and never evading a duty to your family?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn...
So often the "fasting" that the modern Christian thinks of or the church teaches by example or inference is focused on the individual Christian. It is all about you and saying NO to you. But the heart of the gospel is more about turning towards something or someone than putting the emphasis so heavily on turning from something.
The gospel of Jesus isn't about you saving you, it's about Jesus rescuing you, giving to you what you could not give yourself. A true fast is about grace. It is about receiving freely and in the spirit of generosity, cheerfulness and abundance not bowing ones head, deprivation and standing in the spot light of some holy roller sin search light.
The fast of God isn't about you.
The gospel celebration, the kingdom Jubilee is about announcing the good news that love has triumphed over judgment and God's house is open and all that the Father has is yours.
Jesus said He is the door and that door is open to all who would enter.
When you become the focus of all your spiritual primping, a religious OCD like preoccupation takes over and soon eclipses the true calling of Jesus which is to simply love others in very real and practical ways.
Standing in a sanctuary and praying for the world is really baby steps. Anyone can go out in the wilds and worship God and feel close to Him but that isn't the call of the gospel as Jesus lived it out. The true question is can we find Jesus in the wounds of our city and in the face of our neighbor?
Prayer is often just an excuse to not love.
So many people are waiting for God to move because they have become blinded to the reality that He is actually all around them but He has hidden himself in the hardened sinners, the broken and wasted, the indifferent and rebellious, the addicted, the underprivileged and poor, the vulnerable, the numb and complacent and the forgotten within our community. Anyone can love their friends but who will love their enemies? Anyone can serve the beautiful but who will befriend the unlovely? Everyone invites the funny guy but who will feed the difficult and odd? Everyone wants to talk to the superstars but who will sit on the street with the chubby kid that has no one to play with?
Can we hear heaven's worship in the cries of a drug addicted baby in ICU?
Can we hear the whispers of angels in the quiet voices of the elderly, left alone in the dark halls of a suburban nursing home?
When will the church wake up and stop being seduced by the spirit of this world that continually abuses the hearts and lives of people that Christ died for?
We seek to put on the very boot that is crushing the face of the poor.
There is no dawn in that path, only chasing after the wind.
Christ is here, among us, around us and waiting to be found by us.
Will we choose to open our eyes and really meet Him face to face or continue to pray to the heavens for God to come down again?
He might be sitting right next to you on the bus...