Isaiah 58, 1-3
Something to read
Shout out, do not hold back!
Lift up your voice like a trumpet!
Announce to my people their rebellion,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
Yet day after day they seek me
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that practised righteousness
and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgements,
they delight to draw near to God.
‘Why do we fast, but you do not see?
Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?’
New Revised Standard Version
To read the King James Version, click here
Something to think about
To whom is the prophet speaking? ‘My people’, the chosen people, yes – but it is generally reckoned that the type of people who had the time to seek God and know God’s ways were the upper echelons of society. It was the rich who had enough leisure time to attend to the complex religious observances of the day.
These are the ones who were seen as being rebellious toward God, to be sinning – the ones who were in a position to know better, who delighted in the ritual of worship yet still felt incomplete in their relationship with God.
Something to do
Shout out, do not hold back! Act Now! and announce to our political and business leaders the ways in which they are acting unjustly, with policies on fossil fuels and international taxation.
Something to pray
Help us to learn how to pray, not to ingratiate ourselves, but with integrity.
Help us to learn how to give, not to buy honour, but to give honour.
Help us to learn how to challenge others, not out of jealousy, but for justice.
Help us to learn how to live, not for ourselves, but for you.
Today's contributor is Mel Smith, a URC minister in Southend who trained for the ministry at Westminster College, Cambridge.