Happy Monday, my friends! The Old Testament lesson appointed for yesterday (February 5) read in part: “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly,” (Isaiah 58:6-8, NRSVue). Isaiah 58:1-9 focuses on the fasts and prayers that people offer to God and the effect that those people observe as an answer to their prayers. Here God is calling for a fast not in terms of prayer or deprivation, but rather a fast of action.
I have long felt called to be a minister. Growing up as a Roman Catholic I always saw priests as a particular type of superhero and so I wanted to be one. But I remember meeting young seminarians who seemed so full of life and ready to change the world who, by the time they were ordained, seemed passive and more concerned with the state of congregations than the state of justice in the world. I also remember the surprise many folks felt when my pastor became involved in civic organizations in our community. Slowly these observations taught me that Catholic priests were meant to be concerned with the lives of Catholics and the Catholic community. They were not supposed to look too far outward. While some priests did take public stances, they were the exception. A key question in my discernment of ordained ministry has been how to balance my call to ordination with my call to be involved in public theology and activism.
Last week we learned that people in Ohio were actively creating, promoting, and distributing a homeschool curriculum based on Nazi ideology. I immediately wanted to write a public statement from LOVEboldly condemning the group and the curriculum. Members of the LOVEboldly community wisely pushed back and asked if this was really our fight? Is this something we should get involved in? We could make almost any justice issue a LOVEboldly issue, but where are our limits and where do we instead support the advocacy of other organizations? Those are all valid questions and while we did eventually put out a statement, it was tempered and informed by those questions. Progressive Christianity embraces the nuance that we are called to speak up with both our voices and our actions while also recognizing the limits of our ability to be all things and respond to all situations.
Where do you choose to speak up and act up? Where are your limits and boundaries?
Let us pray: God who knows no limits or bounds, who is infinite while we are finite, bless our attempts to do too much and be too much. Help us find and honor our own limits and the limits of the people around us. When we can act, move us to action. When we need to stand down, guide us to that wisdom. When we can help someone else do more, help us add value. In all things guide us, good God. Amen.
Blessings on your week, my friends! Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.