In this week's reflection, we are encouraged to experience God's joy and enjoy the gift of laughter.
7 ways to fast for Lent
By Elsa Samuel
Posted in Faith
Lent, a 40-day spiritual season for Christians around the world, begins on Wednesday 14 February. It is a time to fast, reorder our lives and take stock of our relationship with God. Here are some ideas to get you started if you are thinking about fasting this Lent.
1. Learn the art of fasting
Whether you are a newbie to fasting or a master faster, there are plenty of resources to help you learn or improve. Rev Steve Francis, the Moderator of the Uniting Church in Western Australia, recommends a book by Richard Foster, The Path to Spiritual Growth, which he says is brimming with wisdom on the spiritual art of fasting.
2. Fast and raise funds for UnitingWorld
People choose to engage in different kinds of fasting during Lent – the more traditional food fasting, as well as fasting from certain activities or items. Lent Event provides an opportunity for you to give up something you would normally spend money on – such as takeaway coffee or chocolate – during Lent. Money saved can then be donated to UnitingWorld, the international aid organisation of the Uniting Church in Australia. You may also like to invite others to donate funds towards your fasting. Donations will be directed to UnitingWorld’s life-changing projects, helping to fight poverty and inequality in the Pacific region. Find out more or register at lentevent.com
3. Track your fasts
If you are thinking of traditional food fasting and need a guide to keep you on track, check out Zero, a free fasting app that allows you to track and customise your fasting plan. Zero comes with a few fasting programs to choose from and allows you to define your daily fasting hours and days per week.
4. Fast from the media
Media has become a huge part of most of our daily lives – TV shows, radio, social media sites, online shopping, smart phone apps and games are just some of the media we frequently interact with. What media do you use most often? This Lent, you might choose to give up Netflix, Facebook, Candy Crush or another form of media you generally spend a lot of time or money on.
5. Fast from criticism and complaining
Challenge yourself to refrain from criticism and complaining during Lent by focussing on using kind and positive words. If you’re not sure about fasting from food or media, why not think about the way you use words and interact with others instead? Fasting from criticism and complaining can be a great way to focus on how you express yourself.
6. Get in touch
Keeping in touch with friends and family can be challenging amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Why not use this Lent season to re-connect or check in with 40 different people in your life? This is a bit different from fasting, but is another way Lent can help you to take stock of your life and think about the things you focus on. The way you try to connect with others can differ from person to person – it may be a handwritten card, a LinkedIn message to a former colleague or a phone call to someone you have been meaning to contact.
7. Dine in for 40 days
Rather than avoiding all foods, you might like to commit yourself to dining in for 40 days. Eating out at restaurants, or even just grabbing lunch from a local deli, can end up costing a lot over a few weeks. Why not eat at home or bring your own food when you go out and put that money towards Lent Event instead?
This is a slightly altered version of an article published in Revive, the Uniting Church in Western Australia’s magazine. It has been republished here with permission.
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