Since some of us are “snowbound” this week and may be inside the house getting cabin fever, I believe I should keep the amount of material “light” today as perhaps someone is working on a Spiritual Checkup based on the last few weeks of exchange.
First, following is a comment on Fasting from one of my Muslim colleagues in my class “An Introduction to Christianity: Defining Moments that Shaped a Faith.” I shared Fast Wednesdays with my online class in a discussion and asked “What is fasting? What does it mean to you? For me, the response is so sensitive, thoughtful and cleansing. Its what I aim to do with my fasting and continue to work on.
“Hi Debra, Thanks for your elaborate information on fasting and our friend Seyma* gave us an important point on the common points of fasting in Abrahamic religions.
On your question of “what is fasting? What does it mean to you? I would like to share my understanding of it. For Muslims, the most excellent fasting is to make the human senses and organs, such as the eyes, ears, heart, and thoughts, fast together with the stomach. That is, to withdraw them from unlawful things and from trivia, and to urge each of them to their particular worship. For example, to ban the tongue from lying, backbiting, and obscene language and to make it fast; and to occupy it with such activities as reciting the Word of God, glorifying God, and asking for God’s blessings for the Prophet Muhammad (Upon whom be blessings and peace), and seeking forgiveness for our sins and of all believers.”
*Here is Seyma’s response that is being referred to above:
Hi Debra, Thank you for the details about fasting in the season of Lent. I knew that fasting is a common worship in Abrahamic religions, but not in details. Although they are not exactly the same, they function similarly. We also believe that fasting helps to nurture spirituality, brings us closer to Allah.
I want to ask you fast only in the season of Lent. Do you fast in other special days?
Lastly for today, share with us what the following quote means to you, if anything.
It comes from a book called “Life Abundant: Rethinking Theology and Economy for a Planet in Peril” written by Sallie McFague. She writes to North American middle-class Christians and tells us/them how we need to live differently in order to love nature, and to live differently, we need to think differently – especially about ourselves and who we are in the scheme of things. The current dominant American worldview is that “we are individuals with the right to happiness, especially the happiness of the consumer-style ‘abundant life.’ The market ideology has become our way of life, almost our religion, telling us who we are (consumers) and what is the goal of life (making money). However, ‘the grime results of this lifestyle are becoming apparent: a widening gap between the rich and the poor as well as the unraveling of the irreplaceable life systems of the planet. Is this loving nature – or our neighbors?”
“…Love has its price. God wants to make us alive, and the wider we open our hearts to others or the more audibly we cry out against the injustice which rules over us, the more difficult our life in the rich society of injustice becomes. Even a small love of a few trees, of seals, or of school children who cry at night in torment…is costly. Many cannot afford even a small love for creatures and prefer not to have seen anything. – Dorothee Soelle”
John 3:16-18The Message (MSG) – 16-18 “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.
Breathe – Michael W. Smith
Dear Lord, we come before you with uplifted hands, hearts and heads. Thanking you for your grace and mercy. How excellent is your name in all the world! We give you praise! All glory and honor belongs to you … create in us a clean heart and renew within us the right spirit. May the meditations of our hearts and the words of our mouth be acceptable in your sight. Amen.
Love, Joy and Peace,
Debra J. Ellis
Reminder AND/OR for those of you just joining us either by contacting me or I personally added you: The purpose of Fast Wednesdays is to draw near to God on this specific day of the week fasting and praying in whatever manner the Holy Spirit is leading you as sisters in Christ…some have fasted from social media, coffee, or observed a traditional fast with no eating from sunrise to sunset with only liquids for the day, no deserts, etc. I know many of us for various reasons participate every week but in different manners. This has still been beneficial and the sisterhood continues to grow! The key ingredient is that we are doing this together as sisters, of all ages, in the Lord both chronologically and spiritually. Note: Please share Fast Wednesdays with your friends and/or send me names to add to the distribution list. For now, I will post in three places: email (firstname.lastname@example.org), Facebook (Debra Fuller Ellis) and blog https://fastwednesdays.wordpress.com/