Thursday, February 23, 2006

Lent... what will you give up???

Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, is next Wednesday, 1st March. I don't normally do Lent but I want to follow it this year... Why? because I want to experience the kind of fasting that my Lord experienced... I want to walk closer with Him.
Jesus told us that when we fast (not if) we are not to make a show of it, like hypocrites do. A fast is different from a hunger strike: a fast is a personal act of devotion to God, while a hunger strike is a public act most often used to shine a spotlight on injustice. A fast is also different from anorexia nervosa: it is disciplined diet, not total abstention from food. During a religious fast, you still eat, you just abstain from certain foodstuffs. Traditionally, people have fasted by eliminating luxury items from their diets, such as meats. You could have a fast that consists of eating whatever you want, but drinking only water. Orthodox Christians recognize five levels of fasting:

* Abstaining from meat
* Abstaining from meat, eggs, milk, butter, and cheese
* Abstaining from meat, eggs, milk, butter, cheese, and fish
* Abstaining from meat, eggs, milk, butter, cheese, fish, oil, and wine
* Abstaining from all foods and beverages except bread, water, juices, honey, and nuts.

Note that the fifth and strictest level describes John the Baptizer’s diet, and it is may very well have been the fast that Jesus undertook for forty days in the wilderness. (Christians reenact this retreat during Lent.)

To fast, just omit an item or two from your diet—something that you would normally eat during the course of the day. Every time you get an appetite for those items, you will be reminded of your fast and that will remind you of the reason for your fast, and you can pray instead of eating. This can have immense spiritual benefit. You are simply using your belly as a spiritual snooze-alarm.
Taken from: which I found to be useful reference for explaining Lent.

Who wants to join me?

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