Fasting as Part of Our Lenten Journey

Jesus’ time in the wilderness was a time of soul-searching, temptation, fasting and prayer. His wilderness journey is often the model for many during the season of Lent. In an old hymn we read: “Forty days and forty nights you were fasting in the wild;
Forty days and forty nights tempted, and yet undefiled.

Shall we not your sorrow share and from worldly joys abstain,
Fasting with unceasing prayer, strong with you to suffer pain?” (George H. Smytan 1856)

Perhaps this year our fasting or “giving-up” should be about more than reducing our food intake or leaving sweets out of our diet. If our goal during Lent is to reignite our relationship with God, perhaps our fasting should deal with our attitudes, motives, emotions, etc. Christine Paintner gives us some new ways of fasting in her blog “Abbey of the Art:”
• I am called to fast from being strong and always trying to hold it all together, and instead embrace the profound grace that comes through my vulnerability and tenderness.
• I am called to fast from anxiety which paralyzes me with fear of the future, and enter into the radical trust in the abundance of God.
• I am called to fast from rushing through my life, causing me to miss the grace shimmering right here in this holy pause.
• I am called to fast from multitasking and instead to behold each thing, each person, each moment.
• I am called to fast from endless list-making and enter into the quiet and listen for what is unfolding, what is ready to be born.
• I am called to fast from certainty and trust in the great mystery of all things.

Continue on your Lenten Journey with an open mind, an open heart, and a spirit attuned to the Spirit of God in our midst.

Joyce SohlJoyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, and quarterly retreats and art exhibits.