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Day Twenty Six : 23rd December

Kneeler Twenty Six

Isaiah 58

9b If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,

10 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.

11 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.

Brueggemann (2): p 191

These verses have an "if-then" form.
'the first "if" consists of three elements. The first is the removal of the yoke, which probably refers to heavy economic requirements … The basis of genuine communion and well-being is in the practice of a just, compassionate economics that is to be contrasted to the "yoke" of exploitation.'

verse 10 has a condition '…that the ones addressed shall attend to the "afflicted," those humiliated, exploited, and demeaned by social practice. The offer of food is likely a broad-based offer of social resources in order to make a viable life possible. The two "ifs" here envision a social practice that is built upon genuine sharing of social power and social goods.'

'…The tight structure of these verses is important. The promise of verses 10b-12 looks to complete restoration of a devastated community. But the promise derives from the condition. Restored community is not rooted primarily in bureacracy or technology or high finance or ingenuity. It begins, rather, in noticing the neighbor in public ways — from which arises a public future.'