Monday, November 20, 2006

The repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets

Back in August, I wrote about my need to set out for something new. The something, it turns out, is graduate school in public policy or public administration, and then moving overseas for the foreseeable future, working on reconstruction, peacebuilding and development in conflict or post-conflict situations. Three to five years from now, I want to be in Beirut or Basra or Kabul, partnering with religious and tribal leaders to rebuild streets, redesign sewer systems, or create jobs: whatever is most needed and wanted by the people I'm working with. Why this, why me, why grad school first, and what it all means aren't subjects I want to dissect in a post. Suffice it to say that I'm going through a time of transition, with attendant rough edges and general edginess. I can't focus on anything other than the details of moving forward: school choices, essays, recommendations, transcripts... But when this passage from Isaiah was read on Sunday morning, I stopped and listened. Here was the prophet talking about exactly what I want to do-- repair breaches, restore streets and gardens-- and making it clear that this fast is chosen and blessed by God. I don't need to look outside its bounds for a calling or a spiritual life. I can pursue that kneeling in a church or pacing around a beaten-up, burnt-down office, with people arguing, weapons being waved, and chaos around every corner. As long as I am focused on making a space for the possibility of shalom, I think I'll be doing what I'm supposed to do.

Is this not the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and the Lord will say, 'Here I am.' If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.

Restoration of Bagh-e-Babur, Kabul, 2005


At 6:12 AM, Blogger inquisitive said...

thankyou for sharing your thoughts. In 2000 I began a psychology degree. As I continued my studies I didn't know why I was doing it, just knew that I had to. One day i purchased a couple of books from a christian book store and when I removed them from the package a small piece of paper drifted to the floor. I was sitting at my office desk. As I glanced over my arm to see what had fallen out of the package the words of the page literally rose off the paper and they were 'you will be known as the resorer of the breach the repairer of pathways to walk'. I immediately checked myself and looked again. The paper was still on the floor and I could not read the writing. Picking up the paper I read and confirmed that it did say the above. From that moment I knew why I was studying psychology....not that there were necessarily any deep truths there that God wanted to impart to me but rather that I needed the worlds qualifications to do the work God had planned for me to do. I have recently set up my own therapeutic service and am watching as the Lord continues to turn the pages of my life. I hope this blesses you as much as your article blessed me.


At 12:59 AM, Blogger Sarah Myers said...

I also find this piece of Isaiah particularly exciting, with its promise and encouragement toward repairing what lies in ruins. It's a time when so much building and rebuilding seems necessary...
I just happened on your wonderful blog tonight; I will keep reading!


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