Fasting for Ash Wednesday

FastingWith Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent upon us, I wanted to write an article about fasting and the purpose behind it – especially today when my stomach is growling just a little bit louder.

Biblically, we see that fasting has role in our faith history.  John the Baptist went out into the desert to fast and pray, eating only locusts and wild honey.  He returned from his “retreat” to begin preaching repentance that the kingdom of God was at hand.  Jesus, too, headed out into desert to fast and pray, just before he begins his public ministry – healing, casting out demons and raising the dead.

And now today, fasting gives us the opportunity to share in a small way in Christ’s suffering.  With all that Christ went through, starting with the Agony in the Garden where he was filled with such sorrow for our sins that he actually sweat blood for love of us. 

On Ash Wednesday, skipping snacks, eating smaller meals and abstaining from meat, seems like such an insignificant sacrifice.  But that small sacrifice does make me refocus my thoughts and see over those crackers in the pantry to God’s deep, sacrificing love for us. 

Fasting can also make us more serious about our prayer and God knows with that sacrifice how deeply our desire for answered prayers.  So every time those craving arises, perhaps for that particular food that I’ve given up for Lent, I can consecrate that suffering to Christ’s suffering – in atonement for sin an in supplication for my most precious intentions.

So bring on that hungry feeling!  May I fill it up with the love of God!

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