Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The beginning of Lent

Fasting has been a part of the preparation of Lent ever since the early church days. The scripture reminds us that "Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished." (Matthew 4:1-2) Later Jesus gives instructions on how to fast, "And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites... but when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret..." Matthew 6:16ff.
In college, we always observed a fast day on Ash Wednesday, and would donate what we would spend on food to missions,at the Ash Wednesday service we would share a meal and break the fast together. I remember how I looked forward to that meal after going all day without anything but water to drink or eat. I was reminded of how so many do not have enough to eat, and so by giving up my meals, I could offer them a small solution to their eating.
As we turn to the season of lent, I invite you to fast, perhaps going one day a week for the 40 days of lent without food, to deepen your spiritual connection to Jesus. You may not be able to go without food for that long, but perhaps you could fast from meat or some other food that would give you a sense that you were sacrificing.
We will be focusing on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, how we should act, what we should do, to remain faithful. Perhaps fasting is one way you can add to your life that will bring new understanding of the call of God.

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