First, let me be clear. The purpose of Lenten disciplines is not about punishing ourselves or some other nonsense; it’s to help us focus on our relationship with God.
OK, with that out of the way, I invite you to think about fasting. The world will not be a better place if you give up Diet Pepsi or chocolate for Lent. But you might be a bit different, and that will make a difference in the world.
Since fasting was a regular part of Jewish piety, Jesus assumes that we will fast. Pictured above is a portion of the vast Judean desert. It was in just such a place that Jesus fasted for 40 days after his baptism and before he was ready to begin his public ministry.
Stare at these pictures for a moment or two. Put yourself there. See the vastness, the emptiness. Hear the silence, except for the constant wind. Feel your sense adjust. Feel the heat of the day and the chilliness of the night. After a few days, notice how the noise in your head has abated and you are alone with your thoughts. Or not alone, because, senses heightened, you are more aware of God’s presence. And you are more silent, listening for God’s voice.
On a much smaller scale, that is what fasting is about and what fasting is for, whether that fasting be from a food, social media, television, destructive self-talk, uncaring words, or something else.
This might not be the way that helps you get reconnected and re-focused on our relationship with God. But it might be.
Pastor Mark Walters