February 28: Fasting

Hmmmm, one day into Lent and already my Lent Madness brackets are being trampled.  I supported James the Less versus Thomas More, and the controversial English Reformation opponent prevailed.  I suppose that Less is truly not More! And Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland is also failing today versus Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptizer.  To record a vote or check your saintly brackets, see lentmadness.org.

Hmmmm.  First Friday in Lent.  A Fast Day for many in the Catholic tradition.  Fasting goes very slow whenever I attempt to do it!  I find it interesting that intermittent fasting now is recognized by health experts as having beneficial effects for our bodies (see here for more information), something which our Jewish and Christian forebears have appreciated for centuries.  Jesus references it explicitly in the Sermon on the Mount as several gospels record he actually began his ministry with a 40 day fast.  While some of my more committed ordained colleagues have attempted a 40 day medically-supervised fast throughout Lent, I prefer to not have that interesting a sermon in the latter Sundays of the season!  I will fast on several days through Lent because deprivation of food focuses my mind on actually being discomfited by the lack of something I truly enjoy.  Fasting also orients me in some very modest way to those who fast from true deprivation, true lack of food security, through no fault of their own.  Jesus said that we do not live by bread alone, but by every word which is spoken with God’s voice.  I ask myself, and you:

  1. Can I actually voluntarily deprive myself of something I enjoy to find comfort elsewhere?
  2. Does fasting in any form orient me to the deprivations of others?
  3. Should fasting be part of my Lenten strategy to prepare for the joy of Jesus’ resurrection at Easter?

Warmly in the Lord,

Brooks+

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