I read an article recently from a pastor in Washington and he said the spiritual practice of fasting is often like kale; we know it’s good for us, but we don’t seek it out on the menu! I appreciate the humor here. It takes a little bit of the “bite” out of fasting.
Surely, fasting is challenging…but by God’s grace, it’s not impossible. Our Lenten fast, over the course of 40 days, is an opportunity for us to seek the Lord Jesus together as the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. This week, as we continue our Lenten fast, I want to share the following article from Ruth Haley Barton, Lent: an invitation to return to God.
She says, “Unfortunately, the practice of entering into the Lenten season has often been reduced to the question: “What are you giving up for Lent?” This is a fine question, but it can only take us so far. The real question of the Lenten season is: How will I find ways to return to God with all my heart? The disciplines of fasting and other kinds of abstinence help us to face the hold that our sin patterns have on us and to somehow let go. They create space for the godly grief that leads to repentance. They ask us to consider how we might be called to give more of ourselves to others. Lent requires something of us, but there can be no feasting without fasting. Entering into the Lenten discipline of giving up something in order to create more space for prayer is the fast that prepares us to fully enjoy the Feast of the Resurrection.”
Consider taking a block of time this week, perhaps between dinner meals, or during the day to more intentionally enter into the practice of fasting. You may choose to abstain from food or drink, technology, or something else. As you do so, the following scriptures are also resources for us; Isaiah 58:1-9, Matthew 6:16-18.
May God continue to meet us in our Lenten fast as we journey with Jesus to the cross.