Our pastor introduced the idea of participating in a water-only fast for Lent. That is, that we choose only water as a beverage for the forty days before Easter. This is to draw our attention to the people in the world who only have water to drink, and to cause us to be in prayer for them. One might put the money usually spent on other beverages in an offering to help with providing clean water to villages in need. Pastor Cal took his inspiration from a Christianity Today article, and posted an article about it on his blog http://www.pastorcal.com/newsletter/forty-days-of-water-bloodwater-mission/
Lent is an important time in my life, so when I saw the blog post, I responded to it. Here is my post:
Pastor Cal – It might encourage others to see this plan for Lent with an additional view , and that is that the interruptions to our comfortable way of life have a deep spiritual benefit. When we intentionally join our ’suffering’ to the suffering of the poor, we are following the example of the Lord. Jesus left the joy and comfort of fellowship with the Father and, “Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.” Hebrews 5:8
I have participated in fasts like this before. They are difficult to do, I think, but they bear surprising spiritual fruit. The interruption to our usual routines heightens our awareness of the things we take for granted, and changes our perspective regarding them. If we join that awareness to a cause for social justice then we have taken that change in our daily routines one step further.
It may be my Catholic upbringing showing, but participating in fasting helps us to become sensitized to some deep spiritual issues, as well. One of these is the tremendous price Christ paid for our redemption. I think Lent is a good time to become acutely aware of that price. Mentally and spiritually preparing for the days when we recall the passion and death of the Lord Jesus helps us to grab hold of the magnitude of the resurrection, and I think that is the biggest change I have experienced as a result of doing a Lenten fast. When one intentionally prepares, Easter is not just another religious holiday that seems to come and go without making much of an impact. In my experience, when I am a participant in the process, not just an observer, Lent becomes more than simply the countdown to a holiday. On the other hand, the years that I don’t participate in Lent in some way are the years that I feel as sense of regret , as though I have missed something meaningful and beautiful.
Drinking only water as a beverage for forty days may seem out of reach for some folks, so maybe choosing one day of the week to drink only water may be enough of a challenge – say Friday, as an acknowledgement of Good Friday. Or, maybe drink only water Monday-Saturday, but celebrate on Sunday by enjoying other beverages. Each person can figure out a way to participate in a type of water-only fast. I believe it will certainly be worth it, on many levels.
Teri, Thanks for the thoughts. Good stuff, as always! I read one person who suggested that Lenten disciplines take a break on Sundays because they are like mini-Easter celebrations. That is evidently also how we can call Lent a 40-day preparation for Easter. I never caught before the connection between Fridays and Good Friday. (I’m not a very fast runner either.)
I can certainly see “interrupting” a water-only fast; it would be harder for me to do the Darfur Diet type of fast and interrupt it on a weekly basis. Then again, most of my medically-minded friends probably would advise me not to do that crazy thing anyway. I know I got an odd look from one of my children just for the water fast.