Lenten Fasting

The Lenten Season
Rev. T. Renee Crutcher

Once again, we are upon that time in the Christian calendar known as Lent. Lent is the English/Germanic word based off the Latin which means 40. We are called to reflect on the 40 days in the desert, Jesus having been Baptized by John the Baptist was led by the spirit to fast and pray. It is a continuum from Moses and the Hebrew children and their wilderness experience. Lent is a period of spiritual discipline. Lent is a 40 day journey of prayer, fasting, repentance, self-denial and charity with a focus on identifying with Christ that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday.

The Lenten season is an opportunity to grow closer to God; to remember Jesus’ life and death and to concentrate more on Him and less on ourselves, just as He did in His own reflection and devotion to God regarding the purpose for His life. By abstaining from certain things in our lives, it helps us to focus on the life and sacrifice of Jesus. Lent relates the accounts of Jesus’ desert experience in Mark 1:13, Mathew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13. Mark tells us that Jesus was tempted by Satan. In Mathew and Luke, we find the details of the temptation of Jesus poured out. All three accounts say that Jesus went without food for 40 days.

As Jesus sat in the desert, that dry arid hot environment being tempted to prove He was the Holy One with unmatched powers, He was preparing for His mission of teaching, healing, and liberating people from all manner of injustice, dis-ease, and proclaiming the Reigndom of God. It so consumed him that he emptied himself and took no food, coming to terms with God’s will that he be the fulfillment of the character of God in mercy, compassion, justice, and love.

On this Ash Wednesday when we accept the dispensation of ashes upon our heads, pray and sing of his suffering to come in anticipation of his death, resurrection and ascension may we sit in our own hot, dry, deserts of missing the mark as Paul would later beyond the Christdom of Jesus declare that we press to the mark of the high calling which is in Christ Jesus by our self-denial for a higher cause.

Perhaps this year we might consider denying ourselves more than the sweet treats and unhealthy foods, or overindulgent shopping sprees, and deep dives into amassing creature comforts. Perhaps this year we might consider taking a closer look at our characteristics that are unbecoming to God and are not reflective of the Christ we are entreated to identify with in the road to rebirth. Just maybe we should think about denying the temptation of Satan to have miserly spirits in the church having little faith that God will provide, to fast being unwelcoming to others who seek a place within the community of faith.

It might be a good idea to fast being bound to old ways of doing things that don’t align with God’s desire for us to be fishers of persons. We might just fast the very thought that a vote in the church should be taken to deny what is right and fair for the man servant of God to do as God has required of him, to provide for ways to build God’s kingdom, for there is plenty good room! Oh, no doubt we should fast ignoring injustice wherever we find it, especially in the church, God’s house.

Lord, we exalt Your Holy and Righteous Name. In these 40 days, we pray that this journey with Jesus will cause us to let go of all the strongholds that make us comfortable with all things which are not of faith, not of hope, not of divine imagination that opens our hearts and minds to be more like Jesus. Help us to resist the temptation of Satan to exclude the power of love in our relationships with You, our families, our communities, on our jobs, in our church and along the byways of life. Help us to give our earthly treasures to those in need and to willingly support the needs of the church to expand and do greater works. Help us to start and end with love. Help us to be love; the kind of love You had when you sent your only begotten Son. Help us to be the change You wish to see. We give up our selfish ways to Your blessed will and become anew in Christ Jesus. Amen
Posted in

No Comments