A different kind of fasting

(Continued from “When Fasting, What Counts?“)

preparationAnd in this speech, we get a glimpse of the motivation for fasting. It’s not that people were desiring time with God. It’s that they were trying to get something out of God.

If we fast enough, he’d do what we want. If we do something really humiliating. If we go last ALL the time. We’ll get what we want.

And then God explains why he’s not responding the way they want him to respond.

You decide that on Friday you will fast.
You get all spiritual.
And then you go to work.
You still holler at your coworkers:
“I didn’t eat. I’ve got a headache. Stop being so stupid.”

By the end of the day of fasting, a day when everyone’s attention should be turned to God, everyone is fighting and arguing and miserable.

And God says, “Why do you think I should listen to you?”

God didn’t prescribe fasting just for external show. He wanted it to make a difference on the inside. He wanted there to be a change in behavior, in respect for each other.

Instead of consuming food, of being consumed with our own satisfaction, God wanted a different kind of fasting.

What if, instead of being involved in buying patterns that take advantage of other people, we started looked for injustice and started to seek justice? What if we fasted from our desires and cared for the needs of other people?

Imagine that instead of simply saying, “I’m not eating today” and then eating twice as much tomorrow, you took the food you would have eaten today and you went to Friemann Square and had a picnic, eating WITH the hungry and homeless. Not giving just food, but presence and time?

Imagine that instead of simply saying, “I’m not going to buy more clothes today,” knowing that you can buy tomorrow, you took the money that you would have used and you buy new clothes for people who have none. A suit for the man who can’t interview without one. A dress for the singer who can’t be in the choir without one.

When we fast simply by delaying the consumption, I’m not sure we’re giving up anything. I mean, there are days that some of us don’t eat simply because we are too busy. But that’s not fasting. And we’ll make it up later.

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Give up .99 for Lent. (or 5.99).

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

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