HEELHEID-Week9-Dag2: Ware aanbidding/True worship

Abraham Heschel het gesê…

’n Godsdienstige mens is ’n persoon wat God en mens te alle tye gelyktydig in gedagte hou. Dit is iemand wat dit nie duld dat enige kwaad aan ander gedoen word nie, wie se passie medelye is en wie se grootste krag liefde en weerstand teen wanhoop is.

Jes 58:3,6,7: Hulle vra: “Waarom vas ons, maar U sien dit nie, verootmoedig ons ons, maar U gee nie aandag daaraan nie?” Is die vas wat Ek wil hê, nie dít nie: om dié wat onregverdig gevange gehou word, te bevry, om die juk wat op mense druk, af te haal, om verdruktes vry te maak, om elke juk te breek? Is dit nie dat jy vir dié wat honger is, van jou brood gee nie, dat jy aan die armes en die dakloses ‘n blyplek gee nie, dat wanneer jy iemand sonder klere sien, jy vir hom klere gee nie, dat jy jou medemens nie aan sy lot oorlaat nie?

Die mense aan wie Jesaja skryf gaan deur moeilike tye. Ballingskap is nie maklik nie. Hulle is van hulle grond ontneem en woon in ’n vreemde land.

Wanneer ’n mens in die moeilikheid is, probeer jy alles. Iemand vertel van ’n ateïs wat in die loopgraaf tydens ’n oorlog begin bid het. Toe een van die soldate vir hom vra of hy dan nie ’n ateïs is nie, het hy geantwoord: ‘In loopgrawe is daar geen ateïste nie!’

Om te vas en te bid was twee van die drie groot pilare van vroomheid in Israel. Mense doen dit as hulle God se wil soek. Ons doen dit selfs vandag nog. Die ander pilaar is om armes te help. Uit hierdie gedeelte van Jesaja word dit duidelik dat ’n mens nie hierdie drie pilare kan skei nie.

Die volk vas, maar hulle verhouding met die mense rondom hulle is stukkend. Hulle buig hulle hoofde in gebed, maar hulle onderdruk mense, baklei met mekaar, hou hulle kos vir hulleself terwyl mense honger is en draai hulle rug op onreg in die samelewing. God duld dit nie.

Gebed, vas en sosiale geregtigheid is één saak. Dis ’n ou waarheid. Dis nie ’n nuwe gebod nie. Ons ken dit van kleins af. Hoekom sukkel ons dan so? Hoekom onderbetaal ons die mense wat vir ons werk, terwyl ons onsself Christene noem? Hoekom is ons wat onsself Christene noem nie voluit betrokke by die armes in die samelewing en hulle behoeftes aan kos, klere en huisvesting nie? Hoekom duld ons die onreg wat aan mense gedoen word, terwyl ons onsself Christene noem?

As ons regtig geestelik en emosioneel groei, sal ons aanbidding en lewe saam met ander ’n eenheid vorm.

Gees van die lewende God, leer my opnuut dat my toewyding aan U ook toewyding aan ander beteken, om Christus se ontwil. Amen.

Abraham Heschel said…

A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers no harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair.

Is 58:3,6,7: ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry   and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood.

Isaiah’s people are going through tough times. Exile is not easy. They are deprived of their land and live in a foreign country.

When one is in trouble, one tries everything. An atheist started praying in a trench during a war. When one of the soldiers asked him if he was not an atheist, he replied: ‘In trenches there are no atheists!’

To fast and pray were two of the three major pillars of piety in Israel. People did it when they were seeking God’s will. We do it even today. The other pillar is to help the poor. From this passage of Isaiah it becomes clear that one cannot separate these three pillars.

The people fasted, but their relationship with the people around them was a complete mess. They bowed their heads in prayer, but they oppressed people, had conflicts with each other, kept their food to themselves while people were hungry and turned their backs on injustice in the community. God does not tolerate it.

Prayer, fasting and social justice are inseparable. It is an old truth. It is not a new commandment. We know it from childhood. Why don’t we act accordingly? Why do we underpay the people working for us, while we call ourselves Christians? Why are we, who call ourselves Christians, not more concerned about the poor in society and their needs for food, clothing and housing than we are? Why do we tolerate injustice while we call ourselves Christians?

If we are really growing spiritually and emotionally, our worship and life with others will be in agreement.

Spirit of the living God, teach me again that my commitment to you also means commitment to other people, for Christ’s sake. Amen.

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