Today was one of our Silver Saints lunches at St Aidan’s Church. Once every couple of months we host a lunch event for our seniors. We are blessed to have the support of Remark Fresh Markets who sponsor those lunches. Each day begins with church at 10:30 am followed by an 11:30 luncheon with a guest speaker. Today’s guest was Paul Hubert, our Ward 8 Councillor and Deputy Mayor of the City of London. As always, Paul was a compelling speaker and shared openly about his faith and how it serves him in the public form. We are most grateful to Paul for his openness and honesty with our Silver Saints today.
Among the many things that Paul shared, was his reflection on his own identity and how it is shaped by a strong Christian faith. To help us understand what his guiding valued are, he quoted this passage from Isaiah 58:
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.
Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to live in.
I was impressed that Paul sees this as a part of his mandate as a public servant. In prayer afterwards, I made it focus of what I ought to be doing in my own role as priest. It becomes a powerful call to action.
This is a real call to social justice. It is a call to make our ‘fast’ a call to stand up to injustice. It is a call to fast from being idle while others suffer. It is a call to share and break bread with the hungry. It is a call to house the homeless…It is a call to bring warmth and clothing to those who are shivering in the cold. The Prophet declares that when we take on the work of satisfying the needs of the afflicted, we will become a light in the darkness. Our longing and our thirst for God’s justice will be quenched with waters that never fail when we repair bridges and make the road easier for others. We spend lots of time tearing others down. This is a call to repair the breach, to build walls, to bring together.
May we reflect on how we might make this scripture passage our own rule of life. Our fasting is of no use if it only serves our own needs. How can we make our fast a active response to injustice in the lives of those around us? Thoughts…..
I am off to prepare for a Vespers service at 646 pm tonight — plan to join us as we seek to be a light in the darkness…