Religion was being practiced. Sacrifices being made on the altar. Praise could be heard from their mouths. Faithful fasting was happening. The people of Israel were fulfilling their pious duty.
But there was still oppression. The hungry still filled the streets. The naked needed clothes. The cry of injustice could still be heard. God says, “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 (Isaiah 58:6-7).”
This year I invite you to join me in a fast from hate, a fast from indifference to the suffering, a fast from causing pain to others. Let’s fast from racism and prejudice. Let’s take up the cause of the poor, remove the chains of injustice, and set free the oppressed.
Let’s “learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause” (Isaiah 1:17). Let’s try giving up more than chocolate.