Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Just recently, I came across a poem that another pastor shared with her congregation, pertaining to fasting and Lent. It was so interesting. I started thinking more about fasting and Lent. Lent is, in the catholic tradition, a time when you fast from meat on Fridays. There are 40 days in lent recalling Jesus’ time in the wilderness where he fasted for 40 days before beginning His ministry. Because this is the background, we are probably most familiar with fasting from food, as this is the most common use of the term fasting. I have fasted quiet a bit over my lifetime and, let me tell you, fasting 48 hours with the youth years ago was the longest and most difficult. It challenged me both physically, mentally and spiritually. The purpose of fasting though, is based on the idea that we are giving up something with the intention of replacing that time with something else. Given this understanding, we can fast from many things. Since it is Lent, and it is a time when we typically fast or think about fasting, may we consider different ways of fasting. Below is a poem that this pastor shared, and I am sharing with you, that can help us consider new ways of fasting this season of Lent as we journey once again to the cross.
In His Peace,
Feasting versus Fasting, This Lent by William Arthur Ward American author, teacher and pastor (1921-1994)
Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ dwelling in them.
Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; feast on divine order.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility; feast on non-resistance.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal truth.
Fast from discouragements; feast on hope.
Fast from facts that depress; feast on verities that uplift.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from shadows of sorrow; feast on the sunlight of serenity.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that undergirds.
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