Tuesday, 5 February 2008

SF 08 - Fasting

"The entire life of a good Christian is in fact an exercise of holy desire. You do not see what you long for, but the very act of desiring prepares you, so that when he comes you may see and be utterly satisfied." St. Augustine

The greatest hindrance to finding grace paths and falling more in love with Jesus the Christ has to be the daily distractions of our post modern world. The pores of our lives are stuffed with this material world. Stuffed with entertainment, stuffed with food, stuffed with sex, stuffed with anxieities (any wonder we are anxious). Fasting is a great grace path that brings to the front of our minds and life, what it is we truly crave. What we crave sets the direction of our life.

Today is pancake Tue and Chelle is making pancakes but besides that its a time to get ourselves prepared for Lent. A great time to put aside some of the diversions that dull our ears to the voice of God, dull to the power of God and inevitably dull to the purpose and will of God for our lives. Some people have concluded, especially since the sixties, that because Jesus criticized the way the Pharisee's fasted, he was slamming fasting itself. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus assumed that his disciples would fast;

Matt 6:16 - 18
16 "When you fast. Do you ever read something on a page and though its typed wrong you pick it up correct? Well this is opposite, its written by the hand of manand by the breathe God. We read if you fast. Jesus is taking it for granted. When you pray and he teaches us, when you give and he instructs us and when you fast; do not look sombre as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Up until very recent times, all Christians have understood - and acted upon - that assumption.
Fasting says "no" to the most obvious diversion in our lives. It is a paradigm for all other Christian discipline, denying ourselves some immediate gratification for the sake of a greater future good. I love who Roger Foster describes this ancient practice ' We fast to Feast on God'

It is interesting that while many followers of Christ have giving up fasting almost everyone is on a diet. We live in a body obsessed culture and some are tempted to diet and call it fasting but I think we need to go just a little deeper than that. Also if we can discipline ourselves for our own vanity maybe we could build into our spiritual lives this grace pathway that will cause us to humble our souls and raise the spiirual itena to tune into the Spirtual world that our hears can so easily become dull to.

This is a great time of year as we approach Lent, to begin to connect with God through fasting and satisfy that holy desire St. Augustine described.

If you are fasting then:

1. Prepare yourself physically. Although fasting is primarily a spiritual discipline, it begins in the physical realm. You should not fast without specific physical preparation.
If you plan on fasting for several days, you will find it helpful to begin by eating smaller meals before you abstain altogether. Resist the urge to have that "last big feast" before the fast. Cutting down on your meals a few days before you begin the fast will signal your mind, stomach, and appetite that less food is acceptable.
Some health professionals suggest eating only raw foods for two days before starting a fast. I also recommend weaning yourself off caffeine and sugar products to ease your initial hunger or discomfort at the early stages of your fast.

2. Though there are many who engage in strenuous physical labour and have enjoyed their extended fast, if you are doing physical labour, you may wish to fast only one or more days of the week, limiting yourselves to partial fasting. Or you may look to weekends as a better time to abstain from food. Remember, too, fasting during major holidays is not always a good idea. Families may be inconvenienced, and temptations to eat can be overwhelming

3. Experts agree that "breaking the fast" is the critical phase of fasting. While your body is in the resting mode, your stomach shrinks and so solid food must be re-introduced very slowly to avoid digestive distress.
I'd love to hear how it goes for you, especially if this is your first time engaging in this grace path


Anonymous said...

hey jason, is that what you do over there on "fat tuesday"--eat pancakes?? i hear you are scheming to get a group to come over this summer. tell me more!
jennifer king

jasondscott said...

Yea we have pancake Tuesday then we all fast for 40 days!

We arte looking at having a team come over and jump in with us as we Crash! the community with love and mercy. Its week beginning Aug 11th. You tempted?