Welcome: Practical Advice on Fasting
Tonight we are going to be focusing on something we have not done before in my time at Kerr. In fact, from talking with many of you, I think it might be new for most people.
Tonight we are going to look at the Biblical call to fast.
We will be having three short times of mediation during this service to think about why you might consider fasting during this season of Lent. But before we begin in earnest, I have a few disclaimers to make.
First, we are going to be talking mostly about fasting from food. The reason why that is our focus is because when the Bible speaks of fasting, the people are most often called to refrain from eating. Food is essential to life and whether we think of Old Testament food regulations or the New Testament invitation to the Communion Table, food and religious practice have always gone together.
In our culture where have have both an excess of food where many have too much food and specifically too much access to unhealthy food and at the same time where many are food insecure and wonder where they will get their next meal, we too need to look at food. We too want to see that our God who is the Lord of all things is Lord even of our basic need to eat good healthy meals.
And so we will think mostly about fasting from food tonight. We will think about giving up a meal or several meals to create time and space for God to work and to move us to repentance.
However, this might be different for every person in this room.
For some, fasting from food is simply not a good option. There are certain medications, both physical medications and medications prescribed for mental health needs which require you to eat. If you are on medications, you should talk with your doctor before starting a regular habit of fasting and certainly before starting an extended fast.
As we often say at Kerr, Jesus Christ came into the world that we might have life and have it abundantly. If the spiritual practice of fasting causes you to be sick instead of healthy, then tonight I want to encourage you to think of other things you could fast rather than food.
Furthermore, there are many in our nation and world who struggle with eating disorders. While the reasons why we might become bulimic or anorexic vary, many of us have struggled to control food in unhealthy ways. If you think that food fasting may cause you to develop an unhealthy relationship with food, than again, be encourage to know that other ways of fasting can be beautiful. Food is not the only choice for abstaining. Also, if this is you, know that you are not alone. You are deeply loved by God. I would be glad to talk with you about this struggle or seek out others to share this burden with you so that you can come to full health.
With those disclaimers in mind, let us open our worship service with Hymn #279.