Across the Pastor’s Desk: Do to unto others as God intends

Published 8:00 pm Friday, February 24, 2023

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Across the Pastor’s Desk by Henry Doyle

“Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loosen 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 your own flesh and blood.” — Isaiah 58:6-7

Henry Doyle

On Wednesday, Feb. 22, in western Christianity, Lent — a 40-day season of preparation to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection — began. The word Lent came from the Old English word for spring. Lent has meant that time of year when the days have lengthened. Spring has not yet come in the Northern Hemisphere, but it is on its way.

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During Lent, Christians do a self-examination and discipline themselves. Many people fast; that is, they give up a favorite food or activity. Others give up a habit such as thinking of only oneself, that is, “me first.” Others make every effort to express thanks for what they have. Some set aside regular times for prayer, midweek Lenten worship and/or reading the Bible.

For 10 years, I have not turned on my flat-screen television. I do not listen to talk radio stations. Nevertheless, I constantly receive emails and printed material through the postal service, which disrespect the dignity of every human being. Far too often, I have confronted people who are intolerant of non-Christians, people of color, people whose sexual orientation is not heterosexual, people who will not accept the facts, who water down history, who supported the Jan. 6 insurrection and/or deny the Holocaust.

Enough! Let me unsubscribe, let me “recycle” the printed material. Let me refuse to participate in any conversations whose hate-filled rhetoric fuels violence and demeans anyone. I take these actions during and after this Lent.

God calls us to love God and one another. This fasting I have chosen to do will help me fulfill God’s calling to do unto others as God intends for them to do unto me.

Henry Doyle is the priest at Christ Episcopal Church.