Day 27: Friday, March 24, 2023
Rev Sela Finau
Scripture: Then I turned to the lord God, to seek an answer by prayer and supplication with fasting and sackcloth and
ashes. (Daniel 9:3 NRSV)
Devotion: It has been said that regular fasting at its most basic level may well be the most effective way to deal with all the appetites and pressures that rule us. So many saints throughout history have practiced fasting religiously. Combined with prayer, it is a critical means of making ourselves available to the cleansing, restoring, and empowering grace of God.
Growing up, I often witnessed my mom and aunts carry on this tradition. Although I was invited to participate, I never took it seriously, and if I did take part, it was more of a requirement while on a church retreat or with a group. Later in seminary life, the importance of fasting was reiterated.
While fasting is not all there is to the Christian life, it creates enough space for God to engage us. The most popular fasting is abstinence from food, but this alone cannot be experienced as spiritual until it can be joined with the sense of acknowledging God’s love and responding by loving others. Fasting is not primarily a discipline through which we gain greater control over our lives but through which God gains access to redirect and heal our body, mind, and spirit.
Fasting and prayer are traditional disciplines for the season of Lent. Whatever your experience with fasting may have been in the past, may we earnestly make space and clear the way for God so that we can be restored and discover more fully the desires of our soul.
Following is an author’s definition on fasting that I thought appropriate.
“Fasting is cleansing. It cleans out our bodies. It lays bare our souls. It leads us into the arms of that One for whom we hunger. In the Divine Arms we become less demanding and more like the one who holds us. Then we experience new hungers. We hunger and thirst for justice, for goodness and holiness. We hunger for what is right. We hunger to be saints. Most of us are not nearly hungry enough for the things that really matter. That’s why it is so good for us to feel a gnawing in our guts. Then we remember why we are fasting. We remember all the peoples of the world who have no choice but to go to bed hungry. We remember how we waste and squander the goods of this world. We remember what poor stewards of the earth we have been. We remember that each of us is called to be bread for the world. Our lives are meant to nourish. Fasting can lead us to the core of our being and make us more nourishing for others.” – Macrina Wiederkehr
Prayer: Holy God, We come to you in the emptiness of our body and soul and ask that you fill it with your love. Amen