Sunday, 6 March 2011

Lent

Before I go ahead to discuss Lent, I thought I should post one of the best renditions of ‘His Eye is on the Sparrow’ that I have ever heard! I found it on YouTube. Epic! His name is Bryan Wilson and he was part of the Mississippi Children's Choir. I do hope he is still singing today. What a voice!


Now let’s talk about Lent.

This Sunday is the last Sunday before the season of Lent starts.

Lent is the 40 day period in the Christian Calendar leading up to Easter Sunday. It starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. It is usually a period of prayer, fasting, sober reflection, spiritual growth, repentance and renewal. The culmination of the spiritual renewal usually occurs on Easter Sunday, when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ, 3 days after His death on Good Friday.
Fasting has multiple benefits – spiritual, physical, mental even and is typically accompanied by prayer. There are several references in the Bible that use the 2 words in sequence (Nehemiah 1:4, Psalms 35:13, Daniel 9:3)

Admittedly, we all need food to survive, but the simple act of going on a fast, is affirmation that we are denying ourselves to worldly things (e.g. food) in order to open ourselves up to meditate fully on the Word of God and discover His purpose for us on earth.

A friend once put it lightly that God has planned our lives so well, that He’s even devised a way to make us lose some weight (post the indulgences and excesses of Christmas and pre the onslaught of Summer), by adding Lent to the Christian calendar. A very simple interpretation I’ll say, but who knows the mind of God? Who knows?.... One thing we do know is that He wants the best for us, and if that entails enforcing a period of fasting and prayer to get us where He wants us to be, so be it!

Fasting approaches
  • Some people chose to do a complete fast for the period of Lent, where they abstain from all food and drink during the course of the day and then end the fast each evening, first with prayer and then a meal.
  • Some people only abstain from all food during the day, but not liquids (like water, tea, coffee).
  • Others simply identify a specific item that they have a great affinity for (food, alcohol, cigarettes, tv etc) and abstain from that item for the 40 day period. This is their own way of denying themselves of an item that they could be ‘addicted’ to, as a way of gaining an upper hand, releasing them to offer themselves fully to God in prayer and supplication.
The Bible provides guidance on how best to fast in Matthew 6:16
And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get

Simply put, your fasting is between you and God. No gain in walking around looking hungry and morose!

Caution:- If you do decide to fast for the first time this year, please check with your physician before you commence.



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