Isaiah 58, 6-9a
Something to read
Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs 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 them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator shall go before you,
the glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.
If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.
Something to think about
There are many people in society today who say it is difficult to see the work of God but today’s reading in Advent teaches us that one of the ways God can make God’s presence known is through practical action.
The hymn writer Sydney Carter puts it perfectly when he says ‘When I needed a neighbour were you there?' This passage serves as a reminder that God’s call to each one of us is a call to do something or take action.
It reminds us that knowledge of God is a response resulting in practical action and service and this is what can make a difference in the world.
Isaiah makes it clear that we are called to help those neighbours in need whose human rights are being oppressed by poverty, ill health and disease.
When humans express their faith in action the light of God’s presence is made visible. People throughout the world can be global neighbours to others in the world by taking practical action in supporting the work of Christian Aid which helps to alleviate suffering, poverty and disease.
Something to do
This Advent season take action and send a card to someone you do not know. Instead of giving a present think about using Christian Aid’s Present Aid to help families in need to live better.
Think about sending a gift collectively from your local school, church or work place to help transform lives. See the website for further details.
Something to pray
Gracious God who sent your only Son to serve and take action in the world to transform the injustice of poverty, suffering and disease. Help us to take Christ’s lead and follow him in action supporting Christian Aid so that this Advent the light of your presence may be known in the world. Amen
Emma Perry is a former student of Westminster College, Cambridge.