Isaiah 32: 16 & 17 says, “Then justice shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.”
The staff of the Council know that this is kind of the verse of the year. We have been working quite intently on making sure the inner workings of the council match what we say. If we say that we feed hungry people through CHOW for instance, you know that we are trying to do that work as efficiently and quickly as possible. We don’t want to inhibit the feeding of people by unneccessary rules or procedures, however, to ensure that we are meeting the expectations of donors and partners we need to do it in the most transparent and effective way possible.
According to Isaiah then, the effect of knowing this – that our words and actions meet – creates peace and assurance. The NRSV translates the Hebrew word for assurance instead as confidence – and I think I like that better since it says if you have your internal controls and procedures worked out that your external demeanor will be that of confidence. And you can inspire trust and confidence from the people you are serving whether that be the hungry person at your door, the donor who give food or funds to the organization, or the person you meet on the street who has questions about your business even when the preasure rises – as it always does.
More importantly, it tells us that we should not fear evaluation because in all essential things we have done our homework and come at the task as prepared as we can. Without that assurance we are left with a house of smoke and mirrors that really does not have the substance to meet the intended meaning of our words.
May it be that way for all of us as we approach our spiritual lives this Lenten season. May all of your words of belief, meet with positive action to help other people be better than they could possibly be by themselves.
Peace and towels,