This weekend (February 27-March 1) will be a 36 hour famine at our church. I am modifying the World Vision 30 Hour Famine to sort of fit my style and my time frame better. Right now I am working on just the general feel of the weekend and I keep coming back to Isaiah 58. Go read it now. (While you read it I will do that cute little thing where I say that I will wait for you to come back and then after a pause I will ask you if you are back and then say Good or something like that and continue.) OK, now read it again. I’m not kidding now. It will take a couple of readings for this chapter to really set in.
Anyway, I am blown away by this chapter. How have we forgotten this in our churches. Somewhere, in an effort to make sure that it wasn’t all of our helping others stuff that was getting us into heaven we stopped stressing that God actually wants us to help others. Somewhere in our desire to not love this world and seek after Heaven we have forgotten that God does want us to try to make this world liveable for people who keep getting the short end of the stick.
Can you imagine a prophet walking into your church today and saying. “It seems like you are eager to seek the Lord. You have poured resources, time, and money into this place. You study the scripture with vigor. You know all of the stories. You stand and you sit at the right times and your worship gatherings are wonderful. BUT. But your heart is far away from the LORD.
This is what the Lord says. Stop acting like you are following me and actually follow me.
Follow me into the trenches, into the ghettos, into the sewer where people are starving and desperate and sick and addicted. Let your religion be about more than just this place. This place, this “church” is nothing if it isn’t followed up by what you do when you aren’t here.
So here is what I desire. Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Help the homeless. Love the unlovable. Do that. Let that be your worship.”
Can you imagine a prophet speaking those words to you. Would you be offended, humbled, called to action or would you just say, “yeah, that sounds great,” and then go back home and forget all about it. I hate to say it, but I think that would probably be my response.