Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What Kind of Fast Does God Choose?

It's Ash Wednesday and I posted yesterday a little about my experience observing Lent last year. I truly do love this period of time of the church calendar.

I heard a great sermon a few weeks ago at the church We have been attending delivered by Pastor Gary West. The title of the sermon was, "What kind of fast does God choose?"

It was great, and an inspiration. This season for Lent, instead of "fasting" from certain things such as beverages, smokes, food, or whatever else people usually choose to fast from... I hope to "fast" by adding something. While i do not discourage someone from giving up certain pleasures, for I find great merit in that, the text from Isaiah says much about fasting.

I think sometimes, maybe innocently, we become boastful in our doing without. I know I was pretty proud of myself for not drinking coffee or smoking cigars, and I found myself wanting people to know it. I think Jesus warns us of things like this.

He pretty much tells us that when we fast no one should know we are doing so. Again, i am referring to myself here and not pointing fingers at anyone else.

Isaiah gives some pretty good guideline of what God's idea of fasting is.

I recommend reading the entire chapter, but verses 5 through 7 provides the details of a "true fast".

Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing ones head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is this what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?

Is not this the kind of fast I have chosen:
To loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke,
To set the oppressed free and break eve yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry
And to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-
When you see the naked to clothe them,
And not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Here are a couple of great ideas from Rachel Held Evans and Nadia Boltz Weber to help observe Lent.

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