Our Yom Kippur discussion hour will focus on issues of Social Justice in society today.
We will be joined by The Rev. Joel Goza of the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church and The Rev. Harvey Clemons, Jr. and. Rev. Clemons and Rev. Goza are highly instrumental in the comprehensive neighborhood revitalization movement of 5th Ward.
Rev. Harvey Clemons, Jr.
Rev. Joel Goya
Every Yom Kippur, we are reminded that our annual Season of Penitence is meaningless unless we strive to translate our repentance and our prayers into action. Through these Days of Awe we are challenged to recognize that the rituals of our faith must be more than simply religious obligations; they must be vehicles for change. This message is central to the passage we read from Isaiah at our Yom Kippur morning service.
Is this the fast that I desire, a day of self-affliction?
No! This is the fast I desire:
To unlock the shackles of injustice,
And untie the cords of the yoke of tyranny
To let the oppressed go free;
To break every chain asunder.
It is to share your bread with the hungry,
And to take the wretched poor into your home;
When you see the naked, to clothe him,
Never withdrawing yourself from your own kin. (Isaiah 58:5-7)
Isaiah saw great hypocrisy in his people who were sacrificing animals in the name of God, while neglecting to seek ways to make personal sacrifices for the betterment of world around them. He was repulsed by the notion that a designated day of fasting could direct individuals to deprive themselves of food, while people were starving in the streets. Today, Isaiah’s sentiments challenge us to try to make our Holy Day experiences vehicles for change.