Wednesday, February 13, 2013

my own flesh

i'm studying fasting this week, inspired by lent (although lent-fasting isn't something i've done).  it's been a while since i fasted as a regular practice, and i am hungry to remind myself of it, that discipline of joy and submission of heart.

isaiah 58:6-7 is God's impassioned question to us on the subject.
Is not this the fast that I choose:
    to loose the bonds of wickedness,
    to undo the straps 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 him,
    and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

the part that slices into me from these verses is that last phrase - your own flesh.  

we think of it as the direct genetic tie, don't we?  sam is my son, adopted, and vava is my daughter, biologically - my own flesh.

but God carries it differently.
all of humanity - your own flesh.

and it's easy and instinctive, ever since that first hiding in the garden, to hide ourselves. 

i find myself walking past homeless people, hiding my eyes, in spite of this verse and this Saviour who feeds the hungry and says 'do likewise.'  i tell myself they don't want me to see their shame but there is no shame in needing - the only shame is mine for choosing eyes that will not see and ears that will not hear and a heart that will not love my own flesh.

God's fasting isn't a meagre thing of self-denial and subsequent pride.  no - Jesus mocked that kind of fasting.

His fasting is a pouring-out, a self-denial in order to bless, a fasting that holds fast to our own flesh.  it's the kind of fasting that ties together the hungry and the full, that gathers the homeless around a table, wraps warm around those who shiver from the cold and cold shoulders.

it's a fasting that reaches out, that whispers "my own flesh" to the stranger and passes him my own full plate.  a fast that has nothing at all to do with shame or pride, a fast that has everything to do with love.

is not this the fast that i choose?

1 comment:

  1. I love this :) And that IS the fast God chooses because when he comes it is in flesh like ours and he shares his food with us and he makes us joyful with his presence.