“If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.”
Isaiah 58:9b–10 (NRSV)
In Isaiah 58 we learn what kind of fast, what kind of worship is pleasing to God. We add to the gloom and darkness when we fast to quarrel and fight or fast to strike with a wicked fist. God desires that our light outshines the gloom and we accomplish that by lifting oppression, feeding the hungry, satisfying the afflicted; this is how we praise God.
There are so many among us who feel blaming fingers pointing sharply in their direction. Immigrants arriving at our southern border are among those who have the ills of the nation placed at their feet. In this, the final of three videos from the U.S.-Mexico border, the Reverend Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), speaks from a cemetery in Brooks County, Texas.
For years the practice in this county was to bury the remains of migrants who died on their journey, unidentified and in mass graves. Only now are they being exhumed and identified to be returned to their families. As we fast this Lenten Season, let us remember those who the world blames and how easily that pointing a finger can lead to unspeakably inhumane treatment. As we fast this Lenten Season, let us find ways instead to lift the yoke, feed the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted. Let us prepare for an Easter wherein our light shines like the noonday.