This devotion is comprised of excerpts from the book 40 Days of Decrease by Alicia Britt Chole.
What might be the fruit of fasting stinginess? What might occur if our families fasted accumulation?
Though what is specifically “given up for Lent” shifts from generation to generation, the broad categories of entertainment, pleasure and food have remained constant throughout the centuries — caffeine, chocolate, designer coffee, carbs, and social media rank among the more popular offerings. Can such polite fasts alone truly prepare us to be awed by Christ’s resurrection? God seems more interested in what we are becoming rather than what we are giving up.
Faith, in general, is less about the sacrifice of stuff, and more about the surrender of our souls.
Consider fasting these things:
1. Regret – do not feed it. Do not give it space. Let it go.
2. Speeding past sorrow – honor the losses in your life. Instead of speeding past sadness, slow down and be present in your emotions. With Jesus, sit with your sorrow and let loss do its eternal work in your soul.
3. Avoidance – pay attention to avoidance mechanisms that surface when you face the unknown, unknowable, uncomfortable or unavoidable.
4. Leavened bread (hypocrisy) – with Israel’s exodus from Egypt yeast became a symbol of what was left behind: hypocrisy, corruption and bondage. Jesus used leaven as a metaphor of false teaching and hypocrisy (Luke 12:1)
5. Addition – fast adding anything to your life. Try to spend a day without spending money. Let each choice not to buy remind you of what you could not purchase: your pardon.
6. Withholding – Ask God to reveal any area in which you are withholding love from Him, others, or yourself.
…in the words of Orthodox Reverend Alexander Schermann, “The purpose of Lent is not to force on us a few formal obligations, but to ‘soften’ our heart so that it may open itself to the realities of the spirit, to experience the hidden ‘thirst and hunger’ for communication with God.”
Reflect upon your personal preparation for Easter. Why are you setting aside forty days to honor Jesus’ death and resurrection this year?
Submitted by the Lay Leaders