Scripture Focus: Galatians 6.8
Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
From John: This post from 2018 is worth repeating even when we already feel like we are fasting from everything. Even in our new crisis, when as Andy Crouch quipped on Twitter, we are all giving up a lot more for Lent than we intended, we can turn unchosen isolation and unchosen cancellations into willing sacrifices. As my own pastor, J.R. Vassar has been encouraging our church, may we use well the “margin” cancellations and losses of social obligations bring to us. May we fill our unexpected margin not merely with more streaming entertainment, but with a more serious approach and commitment to prayer.
Reflection: Fasting is for All
By John Tillman
We sometimes treat fasting like a spiritual version of Mixed Martial Arts—only the strongest should attempt it. But fasting can and should be experienced in some way by believers of all maturity levels.
How do we expect young believers (or new believers) to mature at all if we deter them from learning and practicing one of the major disciplines of our faith?
No matter our age or maturity level, we may begin in fasting as we would begin any new practice. With small, achievable steps.
“As with all the Disciplines, a progression should be observed; it is wise to learn to walk well before we try to run.” — Richard Foster
Fasting may be the most important spiritual discipline for the church to focus on in the next decade. In an instant gratification culture, where we often find ourselves angry when a web page doesn’t load instantly or when a streaming video lags for even a few seconds, we need both a reality check and a spirituality check.
We desperately need to pursue spiritual focus amidst notifications and distractions. We desperately need to cultivate longings for God that won’t surface until we strip away the spirit-numbing stimulants of modern life.
“Fasting helps us keep our balance in life. How easily we begin to allow nonessentials to take precedence in our lives. How quickly we crave things we do not need until we are enslaved by them.” — Richard Foster
Fasting from food is only the beginning of what, for many of us, may be a spiritual quest for stillness, mindfulness, and disconnection from the noise and haste of digital faux-life so that we can connect to true life in Christ.
May we explore fasting beyond fasting from food. May we explore the call of God to withdraw and abstain for a time from anything in our lives that creates false dependency, false assurances of competency, and false feelings of necessity.
Divine Hours Prayer: A Reading
Then, speaking to all, he said, “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me.” — Luke 9.23
– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.
Proverbs 7 (Listen -2:21)
Galatians 6 (Listen -2:18)
This Weekend’s Readings
Proverbs 8 (Listen -3:26), Ephesians 1 (Listen -3:10)
Proverbs 9 (Listen -1:50), Ephesians 2 (Listen -3:04)
Read more from Spending our Way to Asceticism
May our pangs of emptiness lead us to make more room in our hearts and lives for the Holy Spirit and for the community of his Holy Church.
Read more about Calloused Hands and Softened Hearts
There is suffering coming to our lives.
There is death coming to our lives.
There is destruction on its way.
We may still be encouraged.