March 25, 2014
Due to the fact that I hang around many faith-based people, and also because the season of Lent has become so popularized, I have heard many comments about what people are giving up for Lent. It has been traditional to fast during Lent, often from a certain food or substance. When I was growing up we didn’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent. This year I was fascinated with the number of people who either said they were giving up Facebook for Lent or were cutting back on the amount of time they spent on Facebook. I am curious, how does fasting from Facebook deepen your relationship with God? (Seriously, I am curious. If you did this, please write back to me and tell me.) I can imagine that maybe the time that you save because you are not looking at FB could be used for other things, like prayer, meditation, or sacred reading. Are there other ways fasting from FB deepens your faith?
The point, it seems, is to give up something that is important to you. The purpose, though, is to draw closer to God. To draw deeper into your relationship with the Holy One. If your Lenten fast doesn’t put you on your knees, doesn’t truly challenge you, doesn’t make you question some very deeply held thoughts or beliefs, it probably isn’t really a fast.
Last week a friend of mine sent me a list of what we might consider fasting from and what we might consider feasting on this Lent. As of the writing of this, we are still unsure of the source of this list, but he believes it came from an Episcopal Church, Church of the Atonement, in Sandy Springs, Georgia. I decided to post this list because it has spoken deeply to me. I am trying to read it everyday, and to let this kind of fasting bring me more into alignment with a transformed consciousness, having the same attitude in me that is in Jesus. (Philippians 2) Whether you are a religious person, or just consider yourself spiritual, this list is a challenge for all of us. I’ve been busted every day. Every day I have broken my fast. This is a true Lenten discipline.
Fast from judging others. Feast in the Christ who dwells within them.
Fast from emphasis on differences. Feast on the Spirit that unites.
Fast from words that pollute. Feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent. Feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger. Feast on patience.
Fast from gossip. Feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from pessimism. Feast on optimism.
Fast from worry. Feast on trust.
Fast from complaining. Feast on appreciation.
Fast from negativism. Feast on affirmation.
Fast from personal anxiety. Feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility. Feast on nonviolence.
Fast from bitterness. Feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern. Feast on compassion for others.
Fast from discouragement. Feast on hope.
Fast from lethargy. Feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from suspicion. Feast on truth.
Fast from thoughts that weaken. Feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from the darkness of sin. Feast on the light of Christ.
Amy Sander Montanez, D.Min, LPC, LMFT