LENT - Fasting & Feasting

What does Lent mean for you? Are you observing it in some way?

Lent can be a time of both fasting and feasting. Fasting from things that stand in our way of being more Christ-like and feasting on those things that help us be more Christ-like. On Ash Wednesday I handed out a Lenten Litany on Fasting and Feasting, written by William Arthur Ward. Some of his litany includes:

Fast from judging others; Feast on the Christ indwelling them.
Fast from apparent darkness; Feast on the reality of light.
Fast from thoughts of illness; Feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from discontent; Feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; Feast on patience.
Fast from worry; Feast on divine order.
Fast from complaining; Feast on appreciation.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; Feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility; Feast on non-resistance.
Fast from bitterness; Feast on forgiveness.

There are other, more tangible and practical ways of fasting and feasting – fasting from purchasing coffee at Tim’s or Starbucks or McD’s and feasting on giving that money to the Oakwood Community Table food-bank or some other place of need instead. One year I took on a second time of prayer in the afternoon in addition to my morning prayer. One year my niece turned her mirror around and fasted from looking in the mirror

The season of Lent, or as it is sometimes called, the “Lenten spring” gives the church an intentional time to focus on what is in the way of becoming more Christ-like or what in us, personally and communally, needs to die in order for Christ in us to be more fully alive. Forty days is a long time; hopefully enough time to let go of unhelpful practices and learn helpful ones.

The truth that Lent rests on is that new life follows death. That is the grand culmination of the Easter story. But there must be death before new life. New life does not come without death. A sobering thought. And something we see all around us in nature. The dead of winter eventually gives way to the new life in spring. Seeds die in the ground in order to give birth to the plant. The same is true in our personal and spiritual lives. As we die to old ways of thinking and being, we become alive to new ways. The cycle goes on and on and as it does, we grow in greater awareness of who God is and of who we are in relation to God. We mature into a fuller knowing even as we are fully known.

Richard Rohr, in his booklet Wondrous Encounters: Scripture for Lent, writes “…during these forty days of Lent, let’s allow ourselves to be known! All the way through. Nothing to hide from, in ourselves, from ourselves, or from God. Allow yourself to be fully known, and you will know what you need to know”.

Blessings on the Lenten journey – may we all grow in wisdom, maturity and grace

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