Over the next several weeks, we will be sharing devotions based on the United Methodist membership vows, where we pledge to support the church with our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. This week’s focus is SERVICE, with a particular emphasis on families. We invite you to share these as a family and to read them together with children.
6 Isn’t this the fast I choose:
releasing wicked restraints, untying the ropes of a yoke,
setting free the mistreated,
and breaking every yoke?
7 Isn’t it sharing your bread with the hungry
and bringing the homeless poor into your house,
covering the naked when you see them,
and not hiding from your own family?
There is a myth about the ostrich that says that the bird has a habit of burying its head in the sand when it’s scared. Sometimes people say to another, “Don’t bury your head in the sand!” That means someone should not act like an ostrich and pretend that a problem doesn’t exist.
In reality, an ostrich does NOT bury its head when it’s afraid. However, we say this to get others to focus on a problem and not to ignore it. When it comes to social justice needs, this idea must not be lost. Sometimes we all must choose to take a stand on behalf of what is fair for people in need. As godly people, we just can’t ignore the needs of those who are hurting in hopes that everything will get better on its own.
The book of Isaiah reminds God’s people that we all must choose hard things to stand up and help the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and those who are in need. Isaiah wanted God’s people to understand that choosing to help is not always easy but it is a choice that we make. Sometimes it will take real sacrifice. Where it is written, “Isn’t this the fast I choose,” Isaiah is saying it may be hard, but we undertake this sacrifice to set free the mistreated! This is how we seek justice in God’s name. It will be hard and test us, but we can’t ignore the need. Loving God means that we choose to bravely do hard things in God’s name. So take a stand!
by Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
Loving others and seeking justice on their behalf is not always easy. For God’s people, seeking justice takes bravery and prayer. In sacrifice we find unity with God and those in need. How do you decide when to stand up for justice? How do you decide which needs you should focus your energies on? Discuss with a younger person what/which groups you have fought to help in the past. How do you see that this has been “fasting” for you?
Also, one cause you can bravely support is helping with VBS next week – here’s the link to sign up or register your kids.
Also, you might want to visit this website that lists some opportunities in Burlington County for families to volunteer.
Prayer: God of Wonders, thank you for the sacrifices you have made for me. Thank you for showing me others who need justice in their lives. Whenever justice is called for, please help me to see the need and to bravely respond to create change in your Holy Name. Amen.