Today is Ash Wednesday. But how many among us observed this? How many United Methodist Churches have an Ash Wednesday service? I will leave for another essay a discussion on the significance of observing Ash Wednesday or the lack of it.
But today, many among us will start to fast until the Holy Week. Today, I was asked by my colleague what will I give up this Lent? The Biblical text in Isaiah 58:1-12 is an appropriate start to how we understand fasting and Lent.
Verse 6 says... "Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?"
We are indeed fools to think that our fasting or giving up something will please God. The prophet Isaiah reminds us the sins we have committed and the good things we have left undone. We fast to gain favor in the eyes of God as if we can buy God's grace with our own actions. And so this Lent, how do we fast? What kind of fasting do we do?