Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lent: Pray, Fast and Give to Challenge Injustice


http://www.christfaithpower.com/2011/03/09/ash-wednesday/  (Check out this great site, the following reflection is from Ash Wednesday entry there.) 
Joel (2:12-18) calls for a fast... Joel does not call individuals to repentance. He calls the whole community...
 When we look at Jesus’ life and his final days, one thing stands out. Jesus suffered the agony of capital punishment crucifixion because he challenged unjust structures—Roman occupation and priestly burdens upon his followers. Lent is then about following Jesus and challenging the unjust structures in our government and our church which hold us captive. John Dear offers ten principles of resistance to the vagaries of empire during Lent http://ncronline.org/blogs/road-peace/lent-practice-spirituality-resistance.
... We are so often complicit in the injustices of empire that we do not even realize it. Prayer, fasting and almsgiving prepare us to challenge injustice wherever we may find it.
We sometimes restrict our concept of fasting to moderation in food and drink. Fasting refers to all consumption. Descartes’ “I think therefore I am” has morphed into “I consume therefore I am.” Merton railed against technology and commodification. He decried our focus on things and doing. He bemoaned conspicuous consumption. He reminds us that we are human beings. We ARE in the great I AM.
Isaiah expands the concept of fasting that is acceptable to God:
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the
homeless; Clothing the naked when
you see them, and not turning your
back on your own. (58:6-7)

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