“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?” – Isaiah 58:6
The complaint is valid.
We Christians like to quarrel and fight and to strike with wicked fists (Isaiah 58:4). Be it theology, dogma, social action, civil rights, just war, or whether or not we designate one parking space in the church parking lot “Handicapped” … we love ourselves a good church debate.
The Lord knows of what He speaks.
All the while we are engaged in church meeting food fights, right outside our door is a world of refugees fleeing war, widows and children dying of malnutrition, ethnic injustice, people without benefit of intellectual or physical abilities left to beg (and die) on the street, individuals being crushed by the yoke of oppression.
If this is our fast, it sounds like the Lord doesn’t want any part of it.
I’m no expert. I’ve made a couple of short term mission trips to Central America, read a few books, conversed with a lot of sages, wise men and women, mentors, fellow missionaries, and friends. I have dreamed deeply about the question, “who is my neighbor?” It is more important to me to watch and listen with curiosity than it is dive into debate or body surf through a sea of cultural muck and angry goo.
Quick answers, in my experience, are often poor answers, many times leading to unanticipated consequences. Speaking only for myself, I need time to process, pray, and listen for the whisper of the Spirit. It is important to reflect upon what I’ve experienced and to wait for the nudge of Divine creativity to lead me to break a few yokes of oppression that would make Jesus proud.
As a pastor, a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I’ve been called to crush oppressive yokes that enslave people. I’ve been called to channel the spiritual journey to the next destination beyond individual forgiveness and salvation, beyond the self to the whole, towards healing that embraces all of God’s good creation.
If I spend too much time on my intellectual high-horse, please, someone knock me down and swarm me with tickling children. Humility is a great thing. God knows, I need more of it.
This blog will use story telling to focus on Christian international outreach and ministries. I have a lot of stories to tell, and I’m always listening for more. My hope and prayer is that these reflections will serve as an invitation to you, the reader, to watch, listen, pray, reflect, discuss, plan, and to get up and get out into the world to break a few yokes.
Destroy the yoke of oppression where ever you find it. Set people free. Be the balm of Gilead that brings God’s healing to the world.