Lent: What will my fast be?
calendar_todayThu 27th February - 6:19pm
Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
As we enter Lent this year, what is your fast? Perhaps it is the usual ones like chocolate or alcohol. You could be on trend and go for a plant based diet (also known as vegan). If you are feeling particularly brave you could choose one day per week, or one meal per day to abstain from all food throughout Lent. Or, you could choose a different kind of fast…
When choosing what we fast the question we need to ask ourselves is not ‘what shall I give up?’ but‘what will make a difference?’; that is a difference in our own lives and the lives of others. For the purpose of fasting is not to be virtuous. It is not to do something that will look good, or make us feel more important than another person, or even to prove to ourselves that we can achieve something that is challenging. The purpose of fasting, according to the prophet Isaiah it is to enable our light to shine (Isaiah 58:10).
Therefore, when thinking what, or even if we might fast, this Lent we need to ask ourselves ‘how might my fast shine the light of Christ in this dark world?’.
When we consider fasting in this way, it frees us from the yoke of obligation, and releases us into the freedom of joy and peace that comes through knowing and trusting God. It also changes the world for good, because doing things out of obligation, or even just because we think it’s the right thing to do, doesn’t necessarily bring us closer to God or make a positive difference in the world.
I encourage you, as you prepare for Lent, to read the whole of Isaiah 58. What it says is encouraging and life giving. Then, once you have done that think, and pray‘what will my fast be?.