“This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke….” That is from Isaiah 58. One of the pillars of Lent is fasting. It has a long tradition. People fast for many reasons besides spiritual – physical, for justice, solidarity, emotional. But Isaiah is encouraging us to consider fasting from injustice, for freedom.
In what ways do you and I need to be freed? To be loosed from the things that bind us? That keep us small and lost and alone? Maybe part of our Lenten journey is to dismantle the structures that we have in place. Dismantle, at its root, means “to tear down the walls” or “strip off a cloak.” Maybe part of our journey is about deconstructing before we begin to build.
In many cities today, they are taking old buildings, dismantling the interiors, and renovating them, injecting some new life into these old structures, and making them useful again! If we can do this with buildings, might we be able to do the same with ourselves? What “structures” in us need dismantling? What parts of the interior need to be removed, taken down, so that a new interior space can be revealed??
Even though some spaces can be brought back to life with a fresh coat of paint, I wonder if this interior work of dismantling needs some further breaking down? To remove the walls that have kept us protected, safe and isolated. To take out the old wiring that is causing us to be lifeless and dim. To make space for a window so that we can see from another perspective. To rip out a floor and foundation that has might have lived its useful life. One of the wonderful things that happens when renovations begin, we find things hidden in walls…treasures and things of value!
What’s great about these renovated spaces is that they still contain traces of the old, reminders to us of what we looked like and what has served us well. They are also a reminder that even though some things needed to be renewed, not all was bad. Part of Lent is to discover the parts of us that need some renovation. Because after all, renovation can give us more open space….and freedom. And who knows what we might find inside that interior wall!