3 Mar 2017
The idea of fasting comes from how we experience sorrow and mourning. When a loved one passes away, our grief might be such that we “lose our appetite” for a while. Or when life is going badly, we might feel the same. The idea of not wanting to eat is tied to our experience of sorrow and mourning. And so our Lenten practice of fasting is about taking our human experiences and ritualizing them.
We fast because, in our sins, we’ve stepped away from God. And that’s a reason to feel sorrow and to mourn. It’s a reason for us to “lose our appetite” for a while.
But, as the Prophet Isaiah reminds us, fasting isn’t only about not eating; fasting is also about not stepping away from God, and reversing course. And so, fasting means: “releasing those bound unjustly, setting free the oppressed, sharing your bread with the hungry,” and so on.
As we continue on this Lent, it’s good to consider: How have I stepped away from being Christ-like, and how can I change that? In our thoughts, our actions, our words—how have we stepped away from being Christ-like, and how can we reverse our course? After all, that’s the point of fasting: to get us on a better path, the path which leads to Easter.