We certainly live in frustrating times. Reverberations of the struggling U.S. economy are felt across the globe through unemployment, homelessness, hunger, and injustice. The economic downturn has thrust many once-stable families on the cusp of poverty, and further hurt those already on the margins of our society.
Meanwhile, the officials we elected don’t appear to be helping. Washington continues to be dominated by bitterly entrenched partisan divide, resulting in a gridlock that erodes at the average American’s trust in our government. The “key players”—as they are often called—of both political parties seem distant and unresponsive, and the media often speaks of each side’s “political strategy” as if this was all sport.
It’s easy to want to stand up and scream that this is not a game and that people’s lives and livelihoods–their homes, heat for the apartment, gas for the car, and food for the dinner table– are at stake. It’s also easy to want to throw our hands and in the air and walk away from all of this. “Forget this—I’m done caring,” we may mutter under our breath. The reality is, however, we can only take a few steps down the streets of our very own community before being confronted again with the severity of our national (and global) economic problems.
Our God sees our struggle and understands our frustration, but commands us not to walk away. Rather our God calls us to, “Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet!” (Isaiah 58:1). “Is this not the fast I choose,” A few verses later, we are asked, “to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and the break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house?” God then makes an amazing promise: “Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly… If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the need of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness… The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places… and you shall be called the repairers of the breach, and restorers of streets to live in.” This passage reminds us how to honor God, but also how to heal our world.
This passage will also help guide the tenth annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days, held in Washington, D.C, where hundreds of Christians will explore economy, livelihoods, and our national priorities. For four days (March 23-26) we will worship side-by-side, hear from theologians and policy experts, equip ourselves to speak confidently on key policy issues, and take our message to our elected officials in Congress. As Lutherans, we believe that government can be God’s gift to allow us live together peacefully, and we will explore this together and enjoy fellowship at breakout points during the conference.
* Consider this your personal invitation to come to Washington and be heard! *
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