“Is THIS the Fast I Seek?”: Economy, Livelihood and Our National Priorities

Friday, March 23 – Monday, March 26, 2012

In this era of economic and political urgency, as critical decisions are being made about U.S. federal budget priorities and as national elections are fast approaching, Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) asks,

“Is This the Fast I Seek?”

At the 10th annual EAD, March 23-26, 2012, in Washington, DC, we explored economy, livelihood and our national priorities through the lens of Isaiah 58. We joined other Christians in seeking a global economy and a national budget that break the yokes of injustice, poverty, hunger and unemployment throughout the world — heeding Isaiah’s call to become “repairers of the breach and restorers of streets to live in.”

In a global economy based on scarcity, corporate greed, and individualism, we will seek God’s alternative vision for global community: one that breaks the chains of injustice and creates the possibility of a sustainable livelihood with dignity for all, thus living into a reality of God’s abundance.

Through Isaiah, God challenges a nation that on the one hand professes a delight in seeking God and knowing God’s ways, yet serves self interests, oppresses workers, neglects poor and hungry people and quarrels to no good end. Isaiah calls the nation to a righteous practice that loosens the bonds of injustice, lets the oppressed go free, and breaks every yoke. As Christian disciples, EAD participants will attempt to live into Christ’s fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophetic witness (Luke 4).

We will worship, dialogue and be inspired and equipped to speak boldly as people of faith. Rousing preachers, stimulating theologians and internationally known policy experts will offer a faith-based vision for a just economy and a healthy livelihood, along with training on key policy issues and grassroots advocacy –culminating with lobby visits on Capitol Hill. In addition, area specific workshops will be offered on Africa, Asia-Pacific,Latin America, Middle East, Domestic U.S., Eco-Justice, Global Economic Justice and Peace & Global Security.

Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice is sponsored bythe ecumenical Christian community and is grounded in biblical witness and our shared tradition of justice, peace and integrity of creation. Our goal is to strengthen our Christian voice and mobilize for advocacy on specific U.S. domestic and international policy issues.

EAD 2012 Biblical Texts

Isaiah 58:1-12 (NRSV)
“Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! Announce to my people their rebellion, to the house of Jacob their sins. Yet day after day they seek me and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness and did not forsake the ordinances of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God.

‘Why do we fast, but you do not see? Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?’ Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day, and oppress all your workers. Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to strike with a wicked fist. Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high.

Is such the fast that I choose, a day to humble oneself? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?

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?

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry
for help, and he will say, Here I am.

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 needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.

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. You ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairers of the breach, and restorers of streets to live in.”

Luke 4:14-21 (NRSV)
Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him.

He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:

‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’

And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’

 

Download a description of EAD’s 2012 conference and related Scriptural passages here.

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