Isaiah 58: 6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?”
“What are you giving up for Lent?” If you’re connected to a congregation that observes the church year, this may be a familiar question. Throughout church history, periods of preparation before the great feasts entailed times of fasting. The idea of fasting connotes purification and ridding oneself of distraction. It invites us into a place of tending to the pain, contradictions, anger, emptiness, jealousies, pride, or disconnection that fractures our peace and steals our joy.
The marginalization of those deemed unworthy is fracturing the peace and stealing the joy of much of the church. Intuitively, many know that this systemic exclusion must be inconsistent with the good news of a Saviour who consistently went to engage those who were outcast by both society and religion.
And while many sit with this unrest, it can be difficult to know just what to do.
This Lent we invite you to fast from the comfort of silence. Give up sitting on the sidelines.
Though it may be an unfamiliar practice for many of us, fasting is what makes us most fully enter the feast. Risking, counting the cost, standing in solidarity, speaking up.
- “To feast, we must first fast.” How have you experienced this in your own life?
- In what ways have you felt powerless or silenced within the church?
- What do you most hope is resurrected within your congregation?