Is not this the fast that I choose?

posted on March 11, 2018

John 3:14-21
16-18 “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.
19-21 “This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.” (The Message)
John 3:16 is a familiar verse to many, even those who do not claim identity as Christians. But too often we forget to look to the next verse. In The Message translation, verse 17 begins with “And this is why… He came to help, to put the world right again. Each of us has a responsibility to help in putting the world right again, a responsibility to fast from injustice, to turn toward the God-light so that we can participate in God’s work in the world.


Holy God, creator of all that is, help us to open our eyes to your God-light. Help us to find the places you call us to help put the world right again. We give thanks for the opportunities and challenges before us and for your presence with us as we live and work in your truth. Amen. 


As you enter into this Lenten week, take time to consider where you see the God-light. Ask yourself how you can help to put the world right again. It may be little things – taking time to smile at a salesperson instead of rushing through the check-out line. It may be something bigger – writing letters to your congress persons, marching in protest of an injustice. It may be something that requires changing a part of your own life – stopping a practice that you realize is not just or is based on institutional racism or privilege. One step at a time, help to put the world right again.


Rev. Karen Nelson is a retired elder in the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference. Rev. Nelson currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Methodist Federation for Social Action Board of Directors.


Karen Nelson