The beginning of Lent.
A season of the church year in which we traditionally focus on the sacrifice Christ made on our behalf.
And to help us focus...a tradition in the church has been to fast.
To give something up.
To sacrifice something we hold on to, as a means of recalling Christ's sacrifice for us.
I have fasted before, several times. And not always during Lent. There have been days that I have deliberately, prayerfully fasted--forgoing food, so that when the hunger pangs hit, I am driven to pray. The physical demand becomes a spiritual nudge.
It's an intentional spiritual discipline, fasting.
I've rarely fasted during Lent in a way that is truly "painful" for me--something that I would actually sacrifice.
There was one year, when I was a middle school teacher, that I decided to fast from caffeine during Lent. (Those who know me well will recognize the sacrifice this is for me, the perpetually-over-caffeinated...) It lasted about a week. I had a couple of very sweet 7th grade girls come up to me after class one day and say, "Mr. Mulder, we noticed that you aren't drinking coffee anymore...and we understand that there's a good reason for it...but, well...would you please start drinking coffee again? You're kinda grumpy all the time, and it's getting a little scary for us."
And so I broke my fast a few weeks early. For the kids, you know?
|Image by waferboard. [CC BY 2.0]|
But I'm thinking about fasting again today, because it's Ash Wednesday. I haven't committed to fasting this year for Lent. I have friends who are fasting of social media, or chocolate, or eating meat. But I haven't opted in to any of these this year.
And if I had, I probably wouldn't be broadcasting it in a blog post anyway.
But just now, I saw this tweet from one of my very favorite bands, @rendcollective:
Don’t know what to give up for Lent? What about guilt, shame and condemnation? Easter is in many ways the story of how Jesus gave up everything so we could give up those things. #nailedtothecross— REND COLLECTIVE (@rendcollective) February 13, 2018
Maybe I'll be fasting this year after all.
And I hope you'll join me.