A practical thoughts for this Friday’s fast:
To fast is to abstain in some significant way from food and possibly from drink. It may aid us in the recalibration of our relationship to food and hunger.
Fasting is a powerful means by which we become clearly aware of how gratification-oriented and, in the words of Elisebeth Elliot-Gren, “how vastly indulgent we truly are.” Often within hours we notice how much our peace depends on the pleasures of eating. We discern how we use food pleasure to take the edge off the discomforts of our bodies body and souls. We may try to numb the pain of loneliness or relational struggles, to quiet an impoverished sense of our worth and significance, to drown the demonic voice that whispers our work is meaningless, to mask the absence of a sense of purpose. We might even try to fill the bodies wants because of the lack of rest and exercise.
Food is a serious question of discipline in a wealthy, “civilized”, self-absorbed country. We are too often given to overeating but even worse we consume far too many of the wrong things. During our fasts we will remember again how dependent we sometimes are on things like soft drinks, candy, junk foods, etc. Diet and discipline with regard to our bodies, especially with regard to fasting, will make us more energetic, more clear-headed, and therefore more efficient and fruitful in our labor for the Lord.
Our gracious Lord, be pleased to bless our faithful intentions to offer you a holy fast. Bring the innumerable benefits of Christ’s death and passion, His resurrection and ascension more and more to the world. Amen.