Unique among friends: Creative fasting ideas for Ash Wednesday

This week is an important week in the Christian year: We begin the journey of Lent on Ash Wednesday, March 9th.  Lent is a period of forty days that leads up to Holy Week.

Specifically, Lent is a time to travel with Christ through the wilderness of conversion and transformation.  Remember the story in Matthew 4 when Jesus went to the wilderness to be tempted for forty days?  We too enter a wilderness place of the soul, and there we discover our need to repent.  There we find redemption on the road to Calvary.

Ash Wednesday is the official start of Lent.  It is a time to hear God’s call to repentance, remember Christ’s suffering by taking communion, worship, and receive the imposition of ashes.  (Ashes are a sign of penitence and mourning, a symbol that marks us for Christ and affirms our self-denial for His sake.)

Many people sacrifice something for Lent to get into the rhythm of self-denial, like certain foods or drinks.  But Lent is not just about sacrificing something, it’s a about replacing something with a spiritual discipline.

As you think about your fasting “covenant” for Lent, here are some creative ideas:

  • Replace “cursing” or swearing during heated or intense moments with patience and humility.
  • Replace sarcasm with words of healing.
  • Replace “screen time” (TV, computer, etc) with reading your Bible or personal devotions.
  • Replace broadcast nightly news with board games with the family.
  • Replace bickering with hugs and smiles.
  • Replace midnight snacks with journaling or prayer.
  • Replace ice cream with fruit and more water.
  • Replace reading romance novels with reading a book to your child/grandchild.
  • Replace nightly television with making up stories with the family–have each family member make up their own story and tell it using props.
  • Replace emails with hand-written notes or letters.

If you are in the Atlanta area, we invite you to come to Trinity Baptist Church for Lent this Wednesday at 7 PM.  We will have communion, worship, and hear the inspiring sacred sound of Diana Polisena.  The imposition of ashes will also take place.  Hope to see you there!

Published by Joe LaGuardia

I am a pastor and author in Vero Beach, Florida, and write on issues related to spirituality, faith, politics, and culture.

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