Monday, January 30, 2017

Epiphany 5 A - Isaiah 58:1-12

Isaiah 58:1-12
I’m not a big fan of the theological conditional clause “If” which is why I lean towards the Lutheran understanding of saved by grace and even more to Karl Barth’s way of hoping that God’s ultimate plan is the salvation of all people. But then this text is not about eternal consequences and/or rewards just yet. This conditional clause is about the consequences of ignoring God’s “if” in the here and now as imagined by the prophet Isaiah long ago. The consequence of not sharing our bread with the hungry poor is that the poor go hungry. The consequence of not bringing the homeless into our house is that they have no shelter. The consequence of not clothing the naked is that they have no clothes. The consequence of a blanket ban of refugees is that refugees are held captive or worse lose their lives to the violence that they are desperate to escape. You get the picture. The consequences of our inaction are borne by those we refuse to help, house, clothe, feed or welcome into the land of the free. But we suffer the unseen consequence as the life we think the Lord loves, namely ours, is not known by the Lord which makes all our fasting foolish and our claim to be followers of Jesus a mockery of the One we say we love and serve. But on the reverse side of the conditional clause if we heed the call to meet the needs of the lost and the least and the refugee we will be what we thought we were all along, namely, Christ like.

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