Monday, August 16, 2010

Pentecost 13c - Isaiah 58:9-14

Isaiah 58:9-14
We should not miss the connection between satisfying the needs of the hungry and afflicted and calling the Sabbath a delightful holy day. But then we’ve reduced the Sabbath to an hour obligation on a Sunday and even then often can’t wait until released by “Go in peace. Serve the Lord” we go off to serve ourselves. But keeping the Sabbath has less to do with worship or resting from labor and more to do with restoring relationships which, of course, is what worship and rest are designed to accomplish. But we trample the Sabbath when our gatherings are yoked to the pointing of the finger and evil talk over slights and offenses real or imagined without making any attempt to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We trample the Lord’s day when our Sabbaths wrapped in respectability and self righteousness don’t call into question our relentless pursuit of our own way, our own interests; our own affairs and our neglect to care for the “least of these.” If calling the Sabbath a delight is delighting in the Lord then it follows that the day must be about whatever delights the Lord. I think what delights the Lord most is when the lines between you and me or us and them are erased and we see that we are in this thing together. When in our Sabbath gatherings we care more about what difference we make in this parched and dry land than any of the things churches argue about the Lord is delighted. Then living the love of Christ like a well watered garden and a never ending spring we refresh this weary world with acts of kindness and mercy to make every moment of every day Sabbath. And in that the delighted Lord skips for the sheer joy of it.


  1. Wow. What range of emotions: "Lord, have mercy;" Excitement from the call to enter Sabbath community; frustration that we still "don't get it;" confession...

    What stuck out to me was v.12--"Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in." There is a vision for what "could be" if there would only be a "metanoia." I find the images Isaiah working with here intersting: restorer of the streets, repairing the breach, raising up foundations---trampling the sabbath. Streets weren't paved...muddy and messy. And trampling the sabbath evokes potholes and giant mud puddles from the stomping. Restoring the streets seem to be a remembering back to the "straight" way envisioned in chapter 40.

  2. Well said, Michael. Isaiah is rich in images. I like the connection of muddy streets being restored when we refrain from trampling the Sabbath - in the same way our lives are renewed and restored when we turn around.