At the beginning of each year we generally discipline ourselves through a time of fasting and praying. We believe it at this time that the Lord speaks to us to set the agenda for the coming months. There is a desperate need for all those who believe in a God who sees, hears and knows the bigger picture, to rebuild and repair the various walls in society, our families and our finances that are broken. Consequently, when we read the narrative of Isaiah 58, we are reminded that there is an outcome from our fasting and praying and the results should be repentance from all of us who have sinned and reparation and restoration of the various things that are not working.
These are the immediate requirements from the Christian communities. Isaiah states that the real purpose of fasting is to break yokes that ensnare us to particular life styles and remove burdensome situations or relationships that oppress us. Fasting should make us and our situation better.
As the people of God, we are called to be the conscience of the state and as those who stand up and preach righteousness and justice. However, the vast majority of our societies have lost their moral compass and are heading wide eyed toward an abyss.
Recently I visited the houses of Parliament to hear people from the local community in North London argue against the verdict given by a jury of 8 out of ten individuals regarding the killing of Mark Duggan in Tottenham, North London on the 4th August 2011. Although it is regrettable that a young man lost his life, seemingly without having the supposed weapon anyway near him, unlike an armed gunman, Raoul Moat, who shot and blinded a traffic policeman a year earlier, and who they negotiated with until he shot himself, Mark Duggan was associated with gangs and guns rather than extolling the discipline of fasting and praying or even learning the ten commandments on which our society was built.
Moral amnesia needs to be remedied and addressed post haste. And this is what the community activists should be advocating. Let us get our children and young people back into our churches. And for God’s sake and for the sake of humanity let us preach righteousness, justice and peace. The disciplines extolled and practiced by Jesus is the only way that our young men, communities and nation will be hauled back from the abyss. As we start the New Year, let us all remember that God is real. The devil and his minions are real and that there is no repentance in the grave. Read Isaiah 58.