Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

We're fasting today as a family (with varying degrees of success), but the primary goal of our fasting today is to help us to remember His passion and His sacrifice. 

Fasting has generally been a mystery to me.  I've tried fasting in the past, but often it felt like I was doing it as much to be seen as fasting as for the potential weight loss benefit.  The good Lord knows that I need to lose some weight, how better than to multitask! God is, by nature, the ultimate multitasker.

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." - Matthew 6:18

Our kids have done various 30 hour famines and the like, where they've fasted as a group. Sadly, I never had the chance to learn about it like they have.  But through their experience, I can see the spiritual benefit, and intellectually I understand the goal, but it never really clicked for me.

Over the last few years, I've been reading about fasting as part of the spritual disciplines ("Celebration of Discipline", Foster and "The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives", Willard), and turning it over in my head, and I'm finding that my fasting today is different.

Every time I feel a bit hungry, my mind immediately jumps to Jesus, and WHY I'm fasting. Well, right after I think about food.

"Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast." - Matthew 9:15

The hunger pangs remind me that He provides my sustenance, both spiritual and physical. 

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" - Mathew 6:26

They remind me of His sacrifice, and how He must have felt on that cross, with little to sustain him.

"Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty” (John 19:28).

They remind me that suffering, even my little suffering while fasting, always as a purpose and that Good comes from it.

"That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. " 2 Corinthians 12:10

It reminds me that I can rely on him.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philipians 4:6-7

Tonight, We'll break our fast with communion at church at Good Friday services. I can't wait, not because I love the taste of the bread dipped in juice, not because I can weigh myself and see how much I've lost, not because I'm super hungry, but because I can give thanks to Jesus and God with my Christian family. And then I'm so having a good burger.

"And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. "  1 Corinthians 11:24