Today our Muslim brothers and sisters begin the holy month of Ramadan, a time dedicated to fasting, charity, prayer and reading the Qu'ran. As you may know, my brother and sister in law have long been passionate about peace and justice in Yemen. During Ramadan the Yemen Peace Project, an organization they helped start, encourages people who are fasting to donate the money they would have spent on food to people in need in Yemen. For those of us who are not fasting, we can also participate by skipping a meal each week and donating the proceeds. There's more information about the program here; fasting of any kind can be helpful in reminding us of God's blessings and of the struggles many people around the world face.
Our passage for today is a strange one that illustrates the near chaos Israel faced at the end of the time of the Judges. It also reminds us that for many people in early Israel there may not have been a clear division between God and idols. The same can be true today: our spiritual ancestor John Calvin wrote that the human mind is a factory for idols. An idol is anything that threatens to take God's place. Sometimes even things like the Bible or a church building can become idols if they become our focus rather than a way to connect with God.
Blessings on your day,