58 is becoming a big number these days. One way or another I have been surrounded by it over the past week or so. But it’s not just any old 58; this is a reference to that classic passage of Isaiah 58 where God talks about 'true fasting'...
For one thing, this is the focus of our next Micah Sunday 16 October - which is also World Food Day. Our campaign, which will be taken up by many churches across the world, will be a challenge to Fast, Pray and Rebuild. And it gave me a great excuse to share those ideas when I preached last Sunday at the historic Holy Trinity Church in Clapham where their whole day's worship provided a focus on Isa 58. Holy Trinity Clapham was home church to Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect who did so much to promote the abolition of the slave trade in Britain two hundred years ago.
And guess what? When I got back to work yesterday after a week's leave, sitting prominently on my desk was an invitation to join Compassion International on the USA launch of their 58 Film Premier in Colorado Springs on 4 October. This film promises to be something of an epic cinematic invitation to respond to extreme poverty. And everyone should definitely watch out for it - not just because I'm in it! Really, because it will provide one of the most comprehensive challenges about what Christians can and should be doing to end extreme poverty in our time. www.live58.org
But 58 is becoming a big deal, not as a Christian project but as a personal challenge to everyone who cares about our world's poor and who takes God seriously. So even before you get to see the film, do read the resources or the sermon outlines. Each of us should be thinking now, what does it mean for me to "spend yourself on behalf of the hungry"?
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