Isaiah 58:7
 with the hungry

Reflection by Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball

The difference between false and true worship and the purpose of fasting is the context for the question posed in Isaiah 58:7. The question invites us to stop, to realize that this journey of life and faith should not be centered on me! If our approach to worship or the spiritual discipline of fasting advances our own self-interest, instead of working to draw us closer to God and to open our hearts, minds, and spirits to the cries of God’s people, then it is not true worship.

True worship is not about me, it is about hungering after God.  It is about the action of all of us created in God’s image being re-membered with God and one another – to be one with Christ, one with each other and one in ministry to all the world. Worshipful actions are about the pulling together of God’s kin-dom, responding with celebration to the provisions with which God blesses us – life, love, sustenance, healing, forgiveness, redemption. Worship is the action of thanksgiving and growing into disciples who realize that these blessings with which God provides us are not to be hoarded for our self-preservation or advancement but are to be given again by us in God’s name. Worshipful practices empower us, as one body of Christ, to be God’s conduits or vessels who provide and do not hide from caring for the basic needs of all God’s people in ways that bring transformation, hope, and life.  Continue Reading.


Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball is the episcopal leader of the West Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church.

Resources for Congregations:

EMM offers resources for congregations including bible studies, a Refugee Sunday Toolkit, book discussion kits, prayers, and opportunities for advocacy. Learn more here.