Lenten Fast

I cannot quite believe we are talking about Lent already - Easter is very early this year. Lent is one of my favourite seasons of the church year. It gives us space to pause, to reflect, to lay down and to take up. To devote time each day and each week for prayer and reading the bible. To go without things that we take for granted.

To Fast.


Jesus assumes his disciples would fast. St Paul assumes that Christians would fast. The writings of the early church assume that Christians would fast.

All this ‘assumption’ does not suggest a legalistic view of fasting, but rather that fasting is a natural part of a Christian’s rhythm of life. Sometimes we might think of Lent as a spiritual spring clean but fasting in Christianity is more like doing the washing up – something in my experience better done little and often rather than saved up for once a year! Even the word ‘fast’ suggests this, meaning firm, stable and constant.

Fasting does not just mean going without all food. It can mean eating simply - refraining from meat and alcohol. It can mean not spending so much time on particular activities – like TV or shopping. It can mean taking something up – a spiritual discipline. It does not have to be every day in lent. One could decide to have an evening off TV throughout Lent and read a spiritual book instead for example!

In my experience when I fast God does wonderful things in my life and in the lives of those for whom I pray. The bible assumes that fasting goes with prayer. It is very good to give up chocolate but it is much better to spend more time in prayer and give up chocolate! This can be very simple – perhaps as the desire for chocolate crosses our mind we can say a thank you prayer to God, remembering all we enjoy and those whom have so much less.

To prepare for lent I invite you to think of two words. The first is your fast. It does not have to be complicated. ‘Wine’, ‘TV’, etc. The second is your prayer. This could be something personal or something broader. ‘Peace’, ‘Healing’, etc.

Closer to lent there will be cards at the back of church for you to write these on as a reminder. You can pop them in your wallet or purse, or on the fridge. You could take a couple for friends – many people give up things during lent, but the cards will help people remember to pray too.

Wishing you a holy lent.

Fr. Eddie.

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