laffinby Art Laffin
the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House

Shout out, don’t hold back.
Lift up your voice like a trumpet.
The U.S. empire is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today!
The Pentagon, CIA, NSA, and corporate, political, and military powers worldwide conspire to control the earth,
crush the poor,
and persecute the peace and justice makers.

Yet, day after day, the rulers and countless people invoke my name,
as if they practiced righteousness & did not forsake the ordinance of their God.
They delight to invoke my name to bless their violent deeds.
They even use my name to bless their wars and their weapons.
We practice good religion, they say.
We pray and serve our country well.
We keep good law and order.

Look, you serve your own interests, not mine says Yahweh.
You follow your religion of nationalism, nuclearism, and materialism.
You are slaves to selfishness.
You know not my ways.
You don’t know how to fast– your rituals are empty.
You assert an authority you say is rooted in morality–based on justice & truth.
You hypocrites!
Your morality is rooted in worshiping idols: gods of metal, money, power, greed.
You worship false gods, not me!

Is not this the fast that I choose–the real act of worship that I desire:
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to resist all violence and killing,
to let the oppressed go free,
to disarm and abolish all weapons,
to end all injustice.

Is it not to share your resources with the poor,
to offer hospitality to the homeless, refugees, and immigrants,
to clothe the naked,
to provide quality housing, health care, food, education & work for everyone?

Is it not to make sure that the dignity of each person is respected
and to recognize that all human beings are sisters and brothers, children of God?
Is it not to eliminate poverty & war so that people can live in justice and peace?

Then and only then shall your light break forth like the dawn
and your healing shall spring up quickly.
Then you shall call and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry for help, and the Lord will say, Here I am.

If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger,
the speaking of evil,
the demonization and scape-goating of your adversaries,
if you offer food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
if you establish justice for the oppressed and proclaim liberty to the captives,
then your light shall rise in the darkness & your despair be transformed into hope.

The Lord will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water whose waters never fail.
Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt,
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to live in.

8 thoughts on “LENT 2013: A contemporary adaptation of Isaiah 58:1-12

  1. “Then and only then shall your light break forth like the dawn.”
    Beautiful piece, & I love this line from Isaiah! It is unfortunate that many wars are fought, and so much violence & destruction is unleashed upon others in the name of God. I often think that God must cry every night. Thanks for this honest & powerful post!

  2. Reblogged this on Grant Us Peace and commented:
    This is a very powerful piece that begs, urges, asks, & DEMANDS us to stop abusing the name of God in the name of all that is violent, evil, corrupt, selfish, immoral, and unjust. Who are we -who am I- to presume to know the mind of God & then wage wars in His name? Commit atrocities in the name of righteousness? Treat my brothers and sisters as if they were lesser children of the same God?
    Until we begin to work for justice & learn how to treat everyone with compassion and love, we will forever be the hypocrites that Jesus, Isaiah, & so many others since have railed against; and we will never know true peace.
    “Then and only then shall your light break forth like the dawn.

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