Saturday, March 30, 2019
The invitation to ‘observe a holy Lent’ includes ‘Fasting’ as a desired discipline. Fasting from food is an ancient practice and, of course, not limited to Christian devotions. It’s not the same as the popular, but often questionable, body ‘cleanses’ sometimes promoted. It’s not about losing weight and it’s much more that giving up the food. It is about mindfulness…of spending one’s energy thus saved in other ways, notably in prayer and in service. The accepted Anglican ‘fast days’ include Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. But why not try giving up meals (if it is medically safe for you to do so), or making them small and simple, for one day a week until Easter? Drink plenty of water during your fast and spend time in prayer.
There are other kinds of fasts as well, of course. There’s fasting from being critical, or being aggressive while driving. There’s fasting from any number of bad habits. There’s fasting from unnecessary shopping, fasting from ‘stuff’, choosing to recycle and declutter. There’s fasting from people(yes, from people!): those who make you feel less than wonderful, who belittle you or bully you or are simply depressing. There’s awareness about social, environmental and political issues and putting our convictions into action; whether that means contributing financially to something worthy, or consciously reducing our garbage accumulation.
The ‘giving up’, or fasting, associated with the season is about learning self-control and it is meant to be sacrificial. If you find it easy…then it isn’t sacrificial.
Aside: Drinking water a chore for you? Try adding a slice of lemon, lime or orange or cucumber. Or chill your favourite herbal tea. Especially refreshing on a hot summer’s day!