Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Feeding and Fasting

There is a story attributed to Cherokee wisdom:

One evening a grandfather was teaching his young grandson about the internal battle that each person faces.

"There are two wolves struggling inside each of us," the old man said.

"One wolf is vengefulness, anger, resentment, self-pity, fear...

"The other wolf is compassion, faithfulness, hope, truth, love..."

The grandson sat, thinking, then asked: "Which wolf wins, Grandfather?"

His grandfather replied, "The one you feed."

This established one of two key points in a sermon delivered by The Rev. Dr. Sharon E. Watkins at the National Prayer Service on January 21, 2009. (Isaiah 58:6-12, Mt 22:6-40)

Dr. Watkin's beautifully crafted and clearly delivered sermon asked us to think about feeding and fasting.

They turn to God, "What's going on here? We pray and we fast, but you do not bless us. We're confused."

Through the prophet, God answers, what fast? You fast only to quarrel and fight and strike with the fist...

Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice... to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house . .? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly...

At our time of new beginning, focused on renewing America's promise -yet at a time of great crisis - which fast do we choose? Which "wolf" do we feed? What of America's promise do we honor?

In calling the President to realize the important role he plays in modeling our choice of feeding wolves and choosing fasts, she brought the point home with a razor sharp moment of humor.
In international hard times, our instinct is to fight - to pick up the sword, to seek out enemies, to build walls against the other - and why not? They just might be out to get us. We've got plenty of evidence to that effect. Someone has to keep watch and be ready to defend, and Mr. President - Tag! You're it!
Preach it, sister.


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