“Is this not, rather, the fast that I choose: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs from the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking off every yoke? Is it not sharing your bread with the hungry, bringing the afflicted and the homeless into your house; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own flesh?”
One of the historical pillars of Lenten practice is fasting. People take time throughout Lent to abstain from certain things. For some, it might be an elimination of sweets, for others, it could be eliminating one meal a day from one’s diet. I even know people who try to fast from social media.
Today’s passage reminds us that our Lenten journey is not supposed to be simply about what we give up, but what we are supposed to be developing hunger for. Lenten Practice should be oriented around developing a hunger for the justice of God.
A few years back I remember making my Lenten fast that I had to live on the food budget that my neighbors in poverty had to live on. This was one of the more meaningful fasts for me because it deepened my empathy for those in need.
No matter what you choose to do this Lent, make sure you take time and ask God to use your practice to deepen your love for both God and neighbor. Ask God that your practice would inspire you to take action to love those who God loves and work to see those in our world who are oppressed set free.
Question for Today
- If you are fasting this year for Lent, how might you better connect that practice to the work for seeking justice and freedom for people?