Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lenten Practices-Part 1: Fasting

One of the three traditional practices of Lent is fasting (Justice towards oneself). The others being, prayer (Justice towards God) and alms-giving (Justice towards one's neighbor).

Since a strict fast doesn't fit in to our current season of life, we've decided to follow the idea of giving up delicacies and meat (similar to Daniel's "I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth...for the full three weeks").

This giving up also ties to the other Lenten practices as well. My hope is that when cravings hit, it will bring to mind Christ's suffering (prayer and meditation). My hope is with the money will save, we will be able to give more to the church (alms-giving). Considering some of the health and environmental effects of meat, my hope is also that there is some small justice towards myself and my neighbor in eating vegetarian for 40 days. For more thoughts on connecting our eating practices to our religious beliefs, I highly recommend Food and Faith: Justice, Joy, and Daily Bread by Michael Schut, it is a collection of reflections by Wendell Berry, Elizabeth Johnson and others to start thinking about the moral, spiritual and economic implications of eating. It includes an eight-week study guide for groups or individuals.

For a simple Lenten snack, we like to make homemade pretzels during lent. Pretzels were a traditional bread during the fast of Lent dating back to the fourth century! These small breads of flour, salt, and water were formed into the shape of arms crossed in prayer. Even if you don't have the time to make your own, having this snack during lent will remind your children that this church season is a time of fasting and prayer.

Lenten Practices-Part 2: Prayer

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