America, beatitudes, books, Christian Scriptures, clothe, false accusation, Hebrew Scriptures, hungry, Isaiah, Lectionary, light, malicious speech, oppressed, oppression, share, shelter, The Sophia Center for Spirituality
I carried a satchel full of books with me this week, texts that we have considered already and others that will inspire our conversation over the next two days. I always feel comfortable in the company of books; just having them in the room with me is sometimes enough. This morning, however, as I read the lectionary texts for today, I was again reminded of the timelessness of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. The messages fairly jump off the page in their similarity (Isaiah and Matthew’s Beatitudes) and appropriateness for this moment in the history of the United States of America. The messages of how we are to become light in this world are unmistakable. We should all read them aloud and often. The prophet Isaiah says this:
Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them and do not turn your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn and your wound shall quickly be healed…If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech; if you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted, then light shall rise for you from the darkness and the gloom shall become for you like midday. (IS 58: 7-10)
How can we miss the import of these words? What is our willingness quotient and how might we respond? The message is more urgent than ever now. How can we ignore it?