Lenten Fasting and Spiritual Reflection

For those of us new to Anglicanism, the church calendar is a new concept. It is a calendar that revolves around the significant events in the life and work of Jesus Christ. The primary seasons of the church calendar are Advent, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Common Time. We are currently entering the season of Lent. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and lasts for four weeks until Easter Sunday. Lent is a somber season where Christians reflect on their own sinful nature and mortality in light of Christ's resurrection, which is celebrated on Easter Sunday.

During Lent, many Christians choose to fast as a way to acknowledge their limitations and dependence on the Lord in this fallen world. It is important to note that as Anglicans who affirm the doctrine of the five solas, we do not view Lenten fasting as a means of penance or earning forgiveness. Instead, we engage in this spiritual discipline to experience our own frailty and our need for the Savior in light of His ultimate victory.

Fasting during Lent can take various forms, and there is no superior way to do it. Some people abstain from all food at certain times, while others give up specific foods for the entire season. Some may even choose to abstain from technology or other things. The purpose of fasting is to recognize our reliance on temporary things and allow our desire for them to lead us to the Lord in prayer and Scripture reading, seeking sustenance from Him in a special way during this season. It is important to remember that fasting itself does not indicate a higher level of spirituality. However, many people may experience a closer connection with the Lord and gain clarity or direction while fasting.

At Redeemer, we are all fairly new Anglicans, and our first experience with a Lenten fast was here. Many of us have found great spiritual benefit in embracing this season and have made it a regular part of our year. Personally, I have found significant spiritual growth through engaging in Lenten fasts in recent years. If you are considering participating in Lenten fasting for the first time this year, please know that there is no perfect standard to follow. Some people are able to fast for the entire season, while others may need to take breaks for various reasons. Some may fast every day of the week, while others observe Sundays as a day of rest from fasting, as is customary during Lent. It is also okay to take a year off from fasting if necessary. There is no condemnation in how you choose to participate.

If you feel led to join us in fasting this Lenten season, may your decision be accompanied by freedom and grace in the Lord, rather than compulsion and anxiety. Trust in the Lord to meet you during this season as you diligently seek Him, and know that we will be praying for your experience to be meaningful.

Scriptures to Consider:

Isaiah 58
Matthew 6:16-18
Luke 5:33-39

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