I had the strongest inclination to make pancakes for lunch yesterday — but didn’t get to it. Only later did I find out it was Shrove Tuesday, which means today is Ash Wednesday. (The idea of ‘ashes to go’ is kind of appealing!)
Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent, and the beginning, for many, of a fast of repentance. But also strongly connected to this day is the other kind of fast — Isa. 58 — to divide our bread with the hungry. The Isaiah chapter strongly echoes Jesus words that announce his ministry in Luke 4. The good news is about God’s kingdom of shalom come to earth — so good news especially for the poor! In the presence of the king there is peace. And of course, peace is not possible apart from justice! Therefore wherever the king’s people are, justice and care for the poor should be a common practice. .
But mostly we have expected secular agencies to take that role. We outsource justice and mercy, even as we offer other goods and services for the religious club. But “these things should not be!” And coincidentally, an acquaintance of ours was injured on the job over the weekend, so that’s an opportunity for us to step in with some meals and some care. It’s a leg injury, so I’ll pick him up this afternoon and get him to the doctor’s office, as well as making sure he has enough food in his small apartment.
It’s an appropriate way to spend my time on this Ash Wednesday. We started the day with pancakes, but we’ll finish by making sure one of God’s precious sons is not lacking what he needs.
For more on justice, and how righteousness in biblical terms is restored relationship not just a legal status before God, see this excerpt from Fitch, The Great Giveaway.