"In the Western world we need fasting today more than ever. Because we are submerged in a sea of advertisements that encourage us to consume endlessly and mindlessly, we need times to withdraw from our consumption to remember what really matters. We need moments of freedom from the forces in our culture that encourage acquisitiveness.
"Because the media exposes us to the small number of the super-rich, we forget the very large number of the poor. We eat the foods of affluence and purchase the toys of overconsumption. We need moments of freedom from our obsession with riches so we can remember the poor. More than 300 passages in the Bible indicate God's concern for the poor, and fasting gives us the freedom to pray for them and experience solidarity with them."
--Lynne Baab, "Fasting"
Remember back in December when we talked about the spiritual habit of Simplicity? Fasting calls us back into that habit... Put down those things that crowd your life... that take away from what is truly life-giving. Enjoy the freedom of saying "no" to the things that take priority over the people and faith... and say "yes" to God.
And as you take the time to give up those things for a day or a week... Remember the people that don't have those things to give up. I love chocolate - how many people in the world, starving for basic nutrients, have never had chocolate? They're waiting - and hoping - for a simple bowl of rice. As I take a week without chocolate, what can I be doing to help the hungry of our world? I can volunteer with hunger groups - like Feed My Starving Children. I can send money to charities who feed hungry kids. I can pray. And pray. And pray. Pray for those who are hungry - and pray that my eyes and heart may be opened in new ways to make a difference in their lives... And who knows? God may show me a whole new way to live in order to support those around me...