Last Tuesday evening, worshippers gathered at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church for the first of the Holden vesper services. The themes for these weekly services are based on Jesus’ teachings recorded in Matthew 6. The first topic was “fasting.” Rev. Matthew Scott (Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church) challenged us to think about other forms of fasting besides abstaining from food or a dietary indulgence (although this traditional understanding is still an effective Lenten practice!). In recent years, I have heard of fasting from technology: unplugging devices or at least refraining from turning them on for a specified period of time. As a person who doesn’t own a television and isn’t on Facebook, this would not be as significant a challenge for me; for some people I know, fasting from technology would be extremely difficult!
Rev. Scott mentioned his experience of backpacking on the Appalachian Trail which helped him understand how little we actually need in life. It’s something to ponder in this season of Lent: what matters most and what is essential? Could we go without coffee or chocolate or television for a day? Would we forgo driving the car or eating fast food or using plastic for 24 hours? Could we refrain from gossip or social media or being critical of others for a specified period of time? Would we choose to fast from credit card use or hot showers or buying foreign products for a season in order to examine our habits, our lifestyles in the light of God’s generous providing? From what might you fast during this year’s Lenten journey? Personally, relying on God’s grace, I am striving to fast from resignation!