If We Do This One Thing Right

Last Sunday our weather prevented many churches, including ours, to keep their doors closed and their congregants at home. For our congregation, it was the first time in a long time. Our pastor jokingly said it gave her more time to think about the message she had prepared for last Sunday and finally shared yesterday.

Today’s Old Testament reading came from Isaiah 58:1-12, in which Isaiah reminds his people of what true fasting is. Verses 6-9 set out what expectations were for the people in Isaiah’s day:

“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 shelterwhen you see the naked, to clothe them,

and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will
quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

(Emphasis mine.)

Here we find Isaiah echoing Micah 6:8, which I referenced in a post two weeks ago. Simply, we are to take the love God shares with us and pass it along to those who need to feel its amazing touch. The love to which our pastor spoke is found in the triangle diagrammed below:

Love Triangle

Isaiah points out that when times are hard and we lose our focus, we fail to share this triangulated love just right. God’s love flows to both our neighbor and to us, but often we don’t carry through on our part of the triangle–passing that love along. How do we do that?

  • We fail to reach out to strangers and outcasts.
  • We don’t relate to our neighbors, both those we know and those we don’t know.
  • We fail to see worship as transformative.
  • We fail to invite God to shape us.
  • We need to invite God to shake us out and begin anew.
  • We need to fast from greed, fast from selfish endeavors, refocus on what we are called to do.

It’s all pretty simple–we need to first listen to Isaiah and then turn to Matthew 5:13-14, our New Testament reading for this morning. Heeding Matthew’s words we need to become like salt and light because we are called to live and be the Kingdom of God.

Then, doing it like salt and light, we can get this one thing right.

REFLECTION:

What about you? Can you live within the triangulated love of God? Can you be like salt and light living and being the Kingdom of God?

Blessings,

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4 thoughts on “If We Do This One Thing Right

  1. Sherrey, thanks for unpacking this passage for us. The Lord has been pressing on me the importance of fasting for spiritual breakthrough lately. There are several requests that I’ve been praying for for a long time, and I keep hearing that passage in Matthew 17 where the disciples were unable to heal a boy, and Jesus explained ” this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

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    • Lyli, I cannot take credit for the unpacking. My pastor unpacked it for me, and I was eager to share what I’d learned with others. So glad you found my post helpful. Blessings on your week!

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  2. Love the triangle; it helps me when I can “see” things as well as hear them explained. I read just this morning from Richard Rohr: “We eventually love others as we have allowed God to love us.” The more I accept God’s love for me, the more I’ll see I have to give to others. Thanks for sharing these thoughts!

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    • Lisa, I’m fond of visuals too! Enjoy using my eyes to “see” too. And I love Richard Rohr. Our pastor quotes from him frequently. Your quote from Rohr is on point here. I’m so glad you shared it. It brought these passages to clarity in our day and time. Thanks for stopping by! Have a blessed week.

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