14 day plan

The Poetry of Justice

Day 11 of 14


Isaiah 58:11

11And I will always guide you and satisfy you with good things. I will keep you strong and well. You will be like a garden that has plenty of water, like a spring of water that never goes dry.

Reflection:  From darkness and oppression, the poetry of Isaiah now moves us gently into a beautiful garden. How? The Lord’s guidance. True ‘fasting’ or devotion to God, after all, always reflects the Master’s hand and bears good fruit.  First, though, the seeds must be planted in the dark, lifeless soil. Then the life-giving springs of water will flow over the lives of the faithful, even in a sun-scorched land. And as they do, they will produce a garden so lush and beautiful that all who see it can flourish. Their frames will be strengthened, their hearts encouraged. The
garden will do its work.  This is, of course, the abundant life Jesus calls his followers to in John 10:10. He is the living water; he plants us in his love, and as we abide in the vine, he prunes and cultivates his purposes in us so that justice and mercy will bloom.

Question: How has the Lord guided and strengthened you in what might have felt like ‘a sun scorched land’?

Prayer:  O Great Creator of the Universe, prune our lives that we might be of
service to you, so that others might flourish in the care you provide through your church. Plant us in your everlasting love that our Christ-centred communities might be a shelter of peace and beauty to others. Amen.

Isaiah 58:1-14

True Fasting

1The Lord says, “Shout as loud as you can! Tell my people Israel about their sins! 2They worship me every day, claiming that they are eager to know my ways and obey my laws. They say they want me to give them just laws and that they take pleasure in worshiping me.”

3The people ask, “Why should we fast if the Lord never notices? Why should we go without food if he pays no attention?”

The Lord says to them, “The truth is that at the same time you fast, you pursue your own interests and oppress your workers. 4Your fasting makes you violent, and you quarrel and fight. Do you think this kind of fasting will make me listen to your prayers? 5When you fast, you make yourselves suffer; you bow your heads low like a blade of grass and spread out sackcloth and ashes to lie on. Is that what you call fasting? Do you think I will be pleased with that?

6“The kind of fasting I want is this: Remove the chains of oppression and the yoke of injustice, and let the oppressed go free. 7 Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear, and do not refuse to help your own relatives.

8“Then my favor will shine on you like the morning sun, and your wounds will be quickly healed. I will always be with you to save you; my presence will protect you on every side. 9When you pray, I will answer you. When you call to me, I will respond.

“If you put an end to oppression, to every gesture of contempt, and to every evil word; 10if you give food to the hungry and satisfy those who are in need, then the darkness around you will turn to the brightness of noon. 11And I will always guide you and satisfy you with good things. I will keep you strong and well. You will be like a garden that has plenty of water, like a spring of water that never goes dry. 12Your people will rebuild what has long been in ruins, building again on the old foundations. You will be known as the people who rebuilt the walls, who restored the ruined houses.”

The Reward for Keeping the Sabbath

13The Lord says, “If you treat the Sabbath as sacred and do not pursue your own interests on that day; if you value my holy day and honor it by not traveling, working, or talking idly on that day, 14then you will find the joy that comes from serving me. I will make you honored all over the world, and you will enjoy the land I gave to your ancestor, Jacob. I, the Lord, have spoken.”