Lent is upon us and throughout these forty days we are called by the Church to do penance, to make atonement for our sins, and to amend our lives. While atonement is important, this has been accomplished by Christ for us, and we have only to accept the saving death he endured on the Cross and our atonement is accomplished. As for amendment of life, this is asked of all Christians. So what then of our focus for Lent?
I invite each of you to spend time these sacred days in fasting and feasting…yes, feasting! Before you think your Bishop has lost his mind, or slipped into a horrible heresy, consider these words…and may you find yourselves empowered during this Lenten Season!
William Arthur Ward, American author, teacher and pastor, 1921-1994 offers these powerful words for our consideration:
- Fast from judging others; Feast on the Christ dwelling in them.
- Fast from emphasis on differences; Feast on the unity of life.
- Fast from apparent darkness; Feast on the reality of light.
- Fast from thoughts of illness; Feast on the healing power of God.
- Fast from words that pollute; Feast on phrases that purify.
- Fast from discontent; Feast on gratitude.
- Fast from anger; Feast on patience.
- Fast from pessimism; Feast on optimism.
- Fast from worry; Feast on divine order.
- Fast from complaining; Feast on appreciation.
- Fast from negatives; Feast on affirmatives.
- Fast from unrelenting pressures; Feast on unceasing prayer.
- Fast from hostility; Feast on non-resistance.
- Fast from bitterness; Feast on forgiveness.
- Fast from self-concern; Feast on compassion for others.
- Fast from personal anxiety; Feast on eternal truth.
- Fast from discouragements; Feast on hope.
- Fast from facts that depress; Feast on verities that uplift.
- Fast from lethargy; Feast on enthusiasm.
- Fast from thoughts that weaken; Feast on promises that inspire.
- Fast from shadows of sorrow; Feast on the sunlight of serenity.
- Fast from idle gossip; Feast on purposeful silence.
- Fast from problems that overwhelm; Feast on prayer that strengthens.
I’d ask you all to meditation on and practice each of the suggestions above for a day during Lent. I know you will be empowered and I know you will learn that fasting must always be accompanied by feasting!
God Bless you!