Thursday, July 27, 2006

Reflections on fasting

Fasting. Wow! What an experience. I have to say that I experienced my first, true, fast this week.

Now before any of you get up in arms saying that as a United Methodist preacher that is a shame, allow me to explain.

I have "fasted" before. I have given things up. I have gone without food or certain types of food. I believed I was doing the right thing. I thought I was "fasting" the way it was supposed to be done. But my most recent experience taught me something - I have a lot to learn and experience about fasting.

The leadership of the church made a voluntary call to members to be in a time of prayer and fasting for 24 hours. It was not an accountable fast. People could choose to participate in prayer and/or fasting as they wanted. The reason for the call to a time of prayer and fasting was started by the concern over the finances of the church. Like many non-profits, we are hurting financially. So the leadership asked the church to spend 24 hours sacrificing and being in prayer.

Did it work?

I don't have a clue. But I can honestly say that I am a better follower of Christ for it. Why you may ask?
  • I can see clearer now. No, it didn't heal my eyes. Spiritually I feel.....brighter. As in "let your light shine".
  • I gained some direction on a question that I had been pondering.
  • I have identified one of my personal barriers to spiritual development.
  • I have experienced what I believe fasting is all about...and want to do it again.
Did everyone have the same experience? I hope not. I hope that God was able to do something powerful within those who participated. I pray that our church will be blessed through this time. I hope we continue to call the church to this ancient and modern practice of worship. I pray that we all may grow each day in the likeness of Christ.

As an aside...go to Dr. Ben Witherington's blog and read his most recent post. This is a great sermon and says so much that I would like to steal. So I'll let his words speak directly to you.

The Conquest of Faith and the Climax of History

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