Saturday, March 29, 2014

Lent XXV

While there may be many reasons for fasting, one of the chief reason for fasting is to heighten our awareness of God's presence in our life.  A fast will take us from seldom thinking about God in the course of a day to a place where we are thinking about Him more times than we can count.  Sounds like a good place to be!  How it happens is not a complicated thing.  When you and I decide that we are not going to be eating for a day, or two, or maybe more, it is for certain that we will find ourselves thinking about eating and food.   One of the interesting things we will discover is how many times a day something about food enters into our mind.  And every time it happens, there is the opportunity to remind ourselves that we are fasting to put ourselves in the presence of God.  The moment of remembering the reason for the fast becomes a moment for praying, or worship, or giving thanks.  It becomes a moment for experiencing the presence of God in the moment.
Practically speaking, we go to the refrigerator and without thinking, pull out a snack, only to have the Spirit remind us that today we are not eating as a way of knowing God's presence.  There may even be a moment of being so addicted to the habit of mindless eating that we have the food in our mouth before the reminder comes.  But, be assured that if we are asking for the help of the Holy Spirit in this spiritual discipline, it will come.  The day will become a day for most of us of thinking far more about God than we normally do because of the way we are so accustomed to putting something in our mouth so often.

What we do with mealtime during a fast may be a bit more difficult for those with a family since no one wants to miss the table gatherings with those we love.  Sitting there not eating may seem a bit strange unless some explanation has been offered ahead of time.  In some situations it may be appropriate to spend that time in prayer or Bible reading or in going out and helping someone in need.  There are no hard and fast rules about how to do it.  What works for one will not work for all.  The important thing is to follow the direction given by the Spirit Who can be trusted to be our Helper.

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