Saturday, February 02, 2008

Some thoughts on fasting


I'm preaching at an Anglican church tomorrow and so have discovered that we're on the brink of the Lent season (which starts on Wednesday). Lots of Christians use the Lent season to fast from various things. This got me to thinking that it’s easy to get the wrong idea about fasting. Let me explain:
There’s a dangerous idea around. It’s been around almost as long as the church. It’s an idea that would have us believe that the bodies God has given us, the bodies that he created and described as ‘very good’ - are in fact evil. It’s an idea that would have us believe that in order to please God we need to somehow reject the bodily life he has given us in favour of a purely ‘spiritual life’.
And this idea has been widely applied to the practice of fasting - going without food, or chocolate, or TV, or the many other recent additions on the theme. I’d like to suggest to everyone who is thinking of fasting this Lent, that fasting isn’t about that at all.
Fasting isn’t a way of us rejecting our bodies in search of some ‘purer’ spiritual self. Rather, fasting fosters deep within us an awareness of the fact that our spiritual self sits right at the heart of our physical self. Fasting reminds us that God has made us whole people and that there is a profound connection between the way we feed our physical desires and the formation of our spiritual identity.

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1 comment:

BBC manchester said...

Hi Matt

Could you please get in touch - richard.fair@bbc.co.uk

Cheers