Resources for Transformative Relationship

Scripture Passages

A quotation from Isaiah on right relationship and compassion (Is. 58:5-8)
Contributed by Madeleine Gregg

Is this the manner of fasting I would choose,
a day to afflict oneself?
To bow one's head like a reed,
and lie upon sackcloth and ashes?
Is this what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?
Is this not, rather, the fast that I choose:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking off every yoke?

Is it not sharing your bread with the hungry,
bringing the afflicted and the homeless into your house;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own flesh?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.


Madeleine offers this reflection:
God isn't interested in people fasting because the practice of depriving ourselves of food is an end in itself. God longs for relationship with us and among us...  "God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him [or her]".  Therefore, relationship among people is a sure sign of God's presence with us.  We see that God is with us when people are living in friendship and reconciliation and right relationship.  Isaiah's passage tells us that the kind of fasting that delights God's heart is the sacrifice we make to seek out the "lost, forsaken, and forgotten" people of our world. Wherever we are, whatever we do, we find people who are hurting or lonely or broken or needing help. The Chapter Directions call us to respond in compassion, allowing God's love and mercy to flow through our words and actions, bringing people hope....  The truly beautiful thing is that God responds to US as we respond to others, consoling us with the same love, mercy, and hope that we offer to people in need.