Ash Wednesday points to ponder

Last night’s scripture reading seemed to be a great reminder to those who would set themselves up as God’s chosen judges of what is right that they should look at themselves first. (Yes, that includes holier-than-thou bloggers like me.)

For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.

They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them.

“Why have we fasted,” they say, “and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?”

Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.

Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter? When you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Isaiah 58:2-11

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9 Responses to Ash Wednesday points to ponder

  1. Zuly says:

    I’ll pluck the plank from your eye, baby!

  2. xade says:

    When reading script like this, I find it hard to comprehend how the religeous right can be so… conservative on fiscal matters. (I apologise for such a blanketing statement here, I’m sure it’s not all of them)

    Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter? When you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

    Health Care, Social Security these are government level structures that meet these ends. They should be all for the government forcing it’s people to chip in to Feed the hungry, Clothe the naked.
    (Man, I’m sounding more and more like a bitter old man these days…)

  3. Brian says:

    To paraphrase from someone else’s famous quote, the “religious right” are neither.

  4. Ric The Schmuck says:

    And they wonder why I’m a heathen….
    Actually, no one wonders why I’m a heathen.
    This is no surprise to anyone who knows me.
    I return you now to your regularly scheduled programming….
    (Take care of each other, respect each other, don’t DIS-respect one another…. this from a heathen. Take that for what you will, religious folk.)
    Now, as to why I’m a drunken heathen, heaven knows…
    nyuk nyuk

  5. Solonor says:

    You’re a drunken heathen, because God made you that way. And He/She/It loves a good joke. ;p

    You’re one of the best heathens in the entire world, sir, and I don’t care who knows it.

  6. Ric The Schmuck says:

    Well, there is that, then. Thanks. I think. 🙂

  7. Actually, to come to the defense of the “religious right” on matters financial — many of them do not, in fact, believe in hoarding as much money as possible in order to sit on a big pile of dollar bills and proclaim “Bwahahaahaa! Look at me, poor losers, I’m King of the Hill!” Many of them actually seem to think (strange, I know) that the government is not exactly the best instrument by which funds to take care of the poor and downtrodden should be distributed. (I am assuming that taxation and welfare is what you meant, xade, by your comment.) They may be mistaken; perhaps giving the government money really isn’t as bad as giving car keys and whiskey to teenage boys. But the “religious right” — and the non-religious right and also religious and non-religious left and center and up and down who are not exactly thrilled with having gobs of their hard-earned money snatched from their paychecks without being given any choice in the matter aren’t always motivated by greed or arrogance. Speaking of planks…

  8. xade says:

    Now, I’m not saying that this is what should be done, BUT, on the topic of the last round of Tax Cuts that Bush gave, the money that was recieved by the top 5% of money earners in America would have been enough to employer EVERY unemployed American with a $40,000 per year job. Thats 9,000,000 Americans who could get themselves a decent job. Now I know that that is purely a conceptual number and the milage would vary, also, this prolly isn’t the best forum for a discussion like this, but hey, I believe that this would be a better start than say, just give it to the rich and I feel it is a little hypocrytical to preach helping the poor but then support plans to give tax dollars to the type of people who are all about the “bwahahaha, poor losers…”

  9. Conceptual talk sure is fun to indulge in when you’re not in charge. I have all sorts of great ideas about how the world should be run.

    “the type of people who are all about the ‘bwahahaha, poor losers…'”

    Who are these people, exactly? Most of the rich people I know worked very hard for their money, and still work very hard — perhaps too hard, but that is a different problem.

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