“Shout out! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! Announce to my people their rebellion, to the house of Jacob their sins.” (Isaiah 58:1)
The “signs of the times” could cause one to lose hope, to think all is lost, to just give up and stop trying, but I have good news to share: God is still loving us and that love is saving us. Before my father died, I used to preach at his church on a monthly basis. Before the preaching event, the choir would lead the congregation in the same song, “We’ve Come This Far by Faith.” In my first year of hearing this tradition, I was like Really? Again? Don’t you know another song? Then one Sunday it clicked. We have made it to this point. We have done it—but only with God. So when I think about what is happening now, this song comes to mind and reminds me that we have made it through other trials and we can make it through these, if we don’t sit down.
“We’ve Come This Far by Faith” is about a collective arrival. We’ve journeyed to this point. We’re here. It’s about banding together, so we can achieve what God calls us to: God’s kin-dom.
In Isaiah 58:1-3, God calls us to shout out, to use our voice for justice, but not in way we have in the past. God is calling for us to stop serving our own needs and instead to serve the needs of us all. Our inability to do what God asks of us does not stop Christ from still calling us forward to immerse ourselves in God’s gift of love so that we are transformed in a way that seeks to address the needs of the hungry, the naked, the homeless, and the oppressed.
But for many of us, the sentiments in “We’ve Come This Far by Faith” are the signal to stop, to sit down, and say, “The Lord got me this far, He’ll do the rest, while I rest.” We fail to see our role in the journey. We fail to realize that all our journeys are connected. Too often we forget that our existence begins in God, not each other. Knowing that we have been created in God’s image, we can’t rest; we can’t sit down now.
There’s too much to do. Ω
Reflect: Do you agree with this piece? How do you strike a balance between activism and rest? Is there a difference between rest and complacency? Pray about it. Perhaps there is an area where you need to speak out or act; perhaps you are invited into deeper rest. Whichever you are called to, ask God to guide your next step: even if it’s to organize a day off or a holiday!
What is this? Lent is the 40 days, excluding Sundays, before Easter. Traditionally it is a time of intense reflection and pilgrimage. To help you on this journey, Sanctuary has put together 40 stories from people both within and beyond the congregation, with associated questions for reflection and prayer. A reading will be uploaded every day of Lent.
From timone davis, ‘Don’t Sit Down Now That You’ve Come This Far’, Portland. Fall 2020, pp 22-23, here. #Lent2021. Real People, Real Stories: 40 Readings for Lent, Sanctuary, 2021. Image credit: Rachel Coyne on Unsplash.
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