Today we begin the great 40 days of Lent. In a few moments, we will hear those haunting words “Remember that you are dust and on to dust you shall return” while ashes are applied to our heads.
Those words and those ashes are reminders to us that life is short and in that short amount of time that we have here on earth we must do whatever we can to become the people God wants us to be.
During Lent we fast. We give up something and replace it with something else like praying more, serving others or giving to your favorite charity.
I like to think of it more like fasting and feasting. We FAST from anything that holds us back from being the kind of person God wants us to be and we FEAST: feasting on opportunities to receive the rich grace that only God can give so that we can become the people God wants us to be.
Writer William Arthur Ward once put it this way:
• Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ dwelling in them. • Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of life. • Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light. • Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.
• Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
• Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
• Fast from anger; feast on patience. • Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
• Fast from worry; feast on divine order.
• Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation. • Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives. • Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer. • Fast from hostility; feast on non-resistance. • Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness. • Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others. • Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal truth. • Fast from discouragements; feast on hope. • Fast from facts that depress; feast on verities that uplift. • Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm. • Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire. • Fast from shadows of sorrow; feast on the sunlight of serenity. • Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence. • Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that undergirds
Beginning today, may our prayer, fasting and FEASTING make us stronger members of the body of Christ this Lent and beyond!