Starrville - A WORD FROM PASTOR CAIN
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church - Starrville
            A Word From Pastor Kenneth D. Cain 

WEEK One: “The True Fast”
 
Scripture Text: Isaiah 58:1 – 12
 
“Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins. 2 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. 3 ‘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. 4 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. 5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? 6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to lose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7 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 them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness[a] will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. 9 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, 10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then our light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. 11 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. 12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
 
Reflection:
 
This past Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent which began the Forty Day period of fasting by many.  We fast as a spiritual practice with the intent of growing closer to God. We exchange our normal habits for diligent abstinence from anything that hinders our relationship with God. There are some however, that use this as an opportunity not to get closer to God, but as a self-serving way to compete against other believers.  Because God knows the intent of the heart, we may fool one another, but not God. 
 
The scripture text for this week, presents a different type of fast that’s been initiated by God Himself.  God’s fast comes as a result of His unending love for us and is designed to be a way of life. God’s fast is interested in loosing, undoing, breaking, sharing, covering, exposing, enlightening, healing, vindication, and glorifying with the intent of yielding positive fruit. What would happen if we were to adopt God’s method of fasting, if we stopped racism, class, sexism, and exclusionism? What if we stopped pointing fingers or blaming or pursuing our self-centered agendas and instead pursued the will of God?  Maybe, just maybe, this is what God desires of us during this season of Lent, a change of direction.  Let us determine to turn our eyes from judging each other and seek instead to grow spiritually deeper as sons and daughters of God.
 
Prayer:
 
Lord God, help me to change my heart during this season of Lent.  Cause me to change my negative mindset of others, as I seek to grow closer to You.  Then God, show me where I can serve You by serving others. Amen!
  
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