It’s hard to miss on the news. Today is Mardi Gras—“Fat Tuesday.”
Historically, people fattened up today, to prepare for the Lenten fast that begins tomorrow (Ash Wednesday). Lent is upon us—again.
Lent provides a prayerful rhythm for our lives. It comes annually and lasts 6½ weeks. It invites us to fast from something that is a) significant to us, and b) a regular part of our lives.
The fast is a trigger for prayer. Every time we think of (or desire) what we’re fasting from, we pray instead. Not necessarily lengthy prayers, but breath prayers. In short order we find ourselves praying more often throughout the day and living with a heightened sense of God’s Presence.
The next 47 days includes 40 days of fasting and 7 Sundays when we break our fast each week to honor the resurrected Christ among us. The season culminates with Easter Sunday!
Have you considered a fast? You have options. 🙂 Some folk fast from dairy, meat, bread, or even French Fries. The hardened among us may fast from sugar, candy, desserts, coffee, or Coke. Diehards may fast from television, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! The best fast is one that calls you with consistency to prayer. As we create space for God, and de-clutter our lives of just one regular item, we may experience Him differently.
How about a “reverse fast”? Add a spiritual discipline to your schedule for 40 days; reading, writing, service, worship, or silence. Or prepare yourself for an abbreviated Lent in the three weeks before Easter.
This Lent, I’m planning to spend “40 Days in the Gospels.” (Last year it was “40 days in the Psalms.”) Specifically, I’d like to spend time in Mark’s Gospel, meditating on the stories and words of Jesus. I invite you to share the Journey with me.
We do this not because we must, but because of grace.