“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?” —Isaiah 58:6–7
Isaiah’s words are worthy of much pondering. What do you think they mean? What do these words suggest to you? During Lent, March 1869 to be precise, our foremothers followed these teachings and founded the Women’s Foreign Mission Society, pledging two cents a week and a prayer. After that came the Women’s Society of Christian Service, or WSCS, and in 1952, my mother received notice from the women of her church that a “gift to mission” had been made in honor of my birth. We go by United Methodist Women now, and we’re still building beautiful lives for people around the world with the deep Methodist value of compassion. The words of Isaiah, the practice of prayer, and generous mission support have held constant.
This Sunday we all get a chance to come alongside and support a signature UMW project right here in Austin, Montopolis Community Center, as our Lent sermon series brings us to “compassion.” It has always been true that together we engage more deeply in the highest value of our Christian faith—loving others as God loves us. Bring your prayer, and your two cents, or in today’s “pennies” you might want to bring a whole lot more. . . .
I”ll see you in worship,