An invitation to a Lenten Fast

The season of Lent is upon us! In the church year, Lent is a gentle invitation to renewed devotion. A time of repentance, fasting and prayer which begins with Ash Wednesday (this year on February 26) and precedes the 50-day festal season of Easter. The 40-day season of Lent reflects our Lord’s preparation and fasting in the wilderness before beginning his earthly ministry (Matthew 4:1-11).

As part of your Lenten devotion, we invite you to pray about observing some kind of fast during this season (from food or otherwise). A fast begins with examining our hearts and noting anything which may have gained too much importance. The practice of fasting, setting aside anything inordinate (out of order) in our heart, helps return our relationship with God to its rightful center in our heart and life. Ask the Lord to show you what needs attention.

Second, as you see an area of disorder in your heart, ask the Lord to help you find freedom in that area. The psalmist exhorts, “Hope in the Lord, for the Lord exhibits loyal love, and is more than willing to deliver. He will deliver [us] from all [our] sins” (Psalm 130:7-8). Did you hear that? The God who loves us doesn’t shame or reject or judge us in our weakness, he helps us. He is “more than willing to deliver!”

Third, Lent is not only about letting go of the inordinate, its about rightly ordering our hearts–reorienting our hearts around our first love, the God who first loved us. And like the father who ran to greet his returning prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), our Lord greets our every return with great joy and delight! Not only does he welcome it, he enables it by his Spirit in us. We need only ask.

In sum, the season of Lent is a time to thoughtfully examine our hearts, to turn from going our own way and return our hearts to him. That we might more fully enter into joyful union with our God.

Traditionally the Church observes some kind of fast during Lent, beginning with at least a partial fast from food on Ash Wednesday. However, Christians don’t fast on Sundays. Since Christ’s resurrection, the first day of the week is always a feast day. A day to observe and celebrate our Lord’s resurrection.

Trinity Lakeside will be observing Ash Wednesday with the Imposition of Ashes and Holy Communion: 6:30 pm on Wednesday, February 26. We’d love for you to join us. Contact for details.

Artwork: The Return of the Prodigal Son, Rembrandt van Rijn

Published by Rev. Dr. Markene

ACNA priest, spiritual director and author

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