Ash Wednesday, Feb 10

By. Maggie Leonard

Isaiah 58:1-12

Reflection— v. 6, is this not the fast I choose?

I had never heard of Lent until my family moved to North Carolina; honestly, I probably just wasn’t paying attention. My first Lent was a strange thing: all my friendsIMG_20160118_122423 sat around the cafeteria table proclaiming their chocolate fast or sweets fast—because it was going to be really hard. And who knows, weight might be lost, an added bonus.  I bring this up not to criticize the good intentions of middle schoolers, but to invite us deeper.  God isn’t calling us into a time of fasting in order to be Spring-Break-ready, but rather to let go of something so that we might create space for something new, for transformation. A fast that is acceptable to the Lord, according to Isaiah, is one that will ‘loose the bonds of injustice….’ We fast to relieve ourselves of distraction and hurtful patterns. When we give up chocolate, it could be due to our growing awareness around poor child labor practices on cacao farms or the deforestation associated with palm oil or for concern about the carbon footprint of transporting ingredients from far away lands.  Fasting provides the opportunity to break destructive patterns for a time that they might transform our lives and the world forever.

Prayer Liberating God, help me to let go of unhealthy patterns and create space for myself and others to thrive in your love.