As we mentioned in our online service this Sunday, we are inviting you to participate with us in fasting from food for two days - on Good Friday and Holy Saturday - as a way for us to enter into the anticipation of the resurrection, as well as to commemorate and empathise with the pain and suffering Jesus went through on the cross. Again, we believe that there is significance in this practice - not to be legalistic, because this is voluntary, but to increase our focus on Jesus and his sacrifice in a way that costs something for us.
Our FLAG initiative this season has been, “Fast to Focus” - and this fasting has been from anything in your life that distracts you or takes up time in your day so that you can take that time and focus it on Christ, on SEEKING GOD. And for this 2 day fast, we urge you to do the same. In the time it takes to prepare food, deciding what to make, getting ingredients, cooking meals and eating them - as well as the clean up - this time can be turned and devoted towards focusing on God. And it isn't only time that makes this practice significant - how we use the time also does. The purpose is not to instead fill time with hours of tv or an escapist activity, but instead to engage in other spiritual practices like meditation, Scripture reading, prayer, gratitude, silence & solitude.
As we explore some spiritual reasons for fasting, I want to clarify that fasting is NOT to impress God or earn His acceptance - we believe that we are made acceptable to God through the work of Jesus Christ, not our work. However, fasting is a spiritual practice that gives us the opportunity to seek God in a more intentional way. Below are a few ways for us to bring intentionality to our time of fasting:
To explore this topic further, I would encourage you to spend time looking at some of the resources provided below. There are articles for a shorter read, a sermon series, and a few books as well!
In addition, here are some practical considerations:
Note: if you have any existing medical concerns or conditions, please consult your physician first or simply abstain from participating in this practice. If you struggle with an eating disorder, please talk to your counsellor or with a health care professional before considering this. If you are under 18 years of age, discuss your desire to fast with your parents. This fast is not advised for young children,pregnant women, or those who have low iron or a related health condition.
“Fasting for Beginners” https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/fasting-for-beginners“
"How to do a Biblical Fast” https://www.cru.org/us/en/train-and-grow/spiritual-growth/fasting/how-to-do-a-biblical-fast.html
“Fasting” Sermon Series: https://bridgetown.church/series/fasting/
“Fasting & the Relationship to Food & Body Image" Podcast: https://bridgetown.church/teaching/fasting/fasting-our-lasting-relationship-to-food-body-and-image/
“God's Chosen Fast: A Spiritual and Practical Guide to Fasting” by Arthur Wallis
“Fasting” by Scott McKnight