In The Wee Hours: The Kind Of Fasting He Has Chosen

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:

to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke,

to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–

    when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”
  Isaiah 58: 6-7

I mentioned in my post Wednesday, that, while this was my first time participating in Ash Wednesday, it isn’t my first time participating in Lent. I’m not really sure what ultimately prompted me to start observing it in the first place. It was never part of my spiritual upbringing, nor do I see it mandated anywhere in scripture. Many of my friends, and some of my family participate in Lent. It may have been a desire to fit in, if I’m honest…at least the first time. The second year was different. I may talk about that at another time.

Last year was also different. As Lent approached, I felt the desire to fast grow less and less. Not for the reason you might think. I just didn’t see the point. Truly. I had already proven that I could grit my teeth and do something very hard, but I didn’t feel like that benefitted me or my relationship with Jesus. I really struggled with how eating in a certain way mattered. I wound up not “giving up” per se, but rather “taking up” a new practice. I found this much more difficult and was not very successful. Still, it was an excerise that felt more…authentic…in furthering my walk.

This year, I was once again faced with what to do for Lent, and the same futility of fasting that I sensed last year. My mind was drawn back to the book I read/used during my second Lent.

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In A Place At The Table, Chris Seay leads the reader on a 40-day journey of fasting by eating what the Poor eat, for example eating staples from a certain region of the world or what one may be able to purchase with food stamps. But the fast doesn’t end there. In the first chapter, Chris quotes The Shepherd of Hermas:

“…having reckoned upon the price of the dishes of that day which you intended to have eaten, you will give it to a widow, or an orphan, or to some person in want, and thus you will exhibit humility of mind, so that he who has received from your humility may fill his own soul, and pray for you to the Lord.”

And this from Saint Augustine:

“Break your bread for those who are hungry, said Isaiah, do not believe that fasting suffices. Fasting chastises you, but it does not refresh the other. Your privations shall bear fruit if you give generously to another.”

“In other words,” Chris says. “If you pass on dinner, don’t simply leave your plate in the cupboard; give your portion to someone who has none.”

Aha! Now that I can get behind! It harkens right back to the passage in Isaiah that I quoted. Denying yourself in order to feed others…the kind of fasting God chose. Admittedly, I didn’t do this the year I went through the book. I had no idea how much eating differently was saving (or not saving) me. But this year, I know exactly how much my utter reliance on boxed carb sources is costing me! Actually, it was a bit of a shock when I added it all up. By breaking that habit, I’ll be saving myself a lot of money. I just won’t be keeping it.

Are you fasting this Lent? How can your fast be the kind of fasting He has chosen? Let me challenge you to let your self-denial benefit someone else.

Blessings,

Janet

WIP Wednesday: A Liturgy, A Fantasy, and A Laundry-mussing Monster

Well, hello. Once again, the week has flown by and I am surprised to find that it’s Wednesday already. And speaking of “already,” it’s the 10th! How did it get to be the 10th, and how is there a mere fortnight until Christmas?! Are you all ready? I certainly am not! I don’t even have my tree up yet! I do have a few decorations up though.

So let’s step through my (decorated) front door, and have a nice hot beverage of your choice and a bit of a catch-up, shall we?

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The Hook

There really isn’t much to report on this front as my afghan has taken a backseat to my knitting projects. I’m still slowly plugging along.

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The Book

Well, I never did get around to consulting Alton about that turkey stock. I just never had the time to be home long enough to babysit a stock. I wonder if there’s a way to make it in my crock pot? Hmm…

I’m still reading Portals of Water and Wine, though I haven’t done much reading in the past week. (Sorry, Rachel.)II As weird as it sounds, I’m actually afraid that I’m going to like it too much and become too engrossed to the detriment of my other projects, like what is currently on my needles and on a deadline. I have a tendency to do that with books. There’s also the slightly trouble of only having it on my tablet and being limited by battery life. Score one for good ol’ books. 🙂

I’m enjoying what I’m reading in God With Us. I’m being true to my word, though, and participating in the Advent retreat first. My scripture readings come daily via email. Additional readings come Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Since today is Wednesday, I’ll probably not read God With Us today.

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The Needles

I am just about finished with the apple hat from last week. I just have the leaf left to knit. I also started a new monster. I’m knitting Lurleen the Laundry Monster from The Big Book of Knitted Monsters I’m about halfway up her body. I love seeing these monsters take shape!

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That about does it for today. I’m going to link up with Ginny over at Small Things and see what everyone else is up to.

Have a fantastic Wednesday!

~Janet

WIP Wednesday: Something Old, Something New, Something Fruity, Something Blue

Howdy! I’m a bit late to the link-up at Small Things. I was waiting on the mail (and my tablet to charge). This hasn’t been the most productive crafting week, but there’s good reason which I’ll talk about tomorrow.

I’m also late on promoting two important days this week, World AIDS Day on Monday (something dear to my heart) and Giving Tuesday yesterday. I’m trying not to kick myself for not using this platform more wisely in those regards. But then, giving and AIDS awareness shouldn’t be confined to one day a year, anyway. Neither should giving thanks. 🙂

And now, on to my post.

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The Hook

(Something Old)

I’m up to 26 squares on my afghan. That’s over a quarter of the number that I need for my bed. This is going to be a really long haul!

The Book

I just started reading a brand new book. And by “brand new,” I really mean brand new. Hot off the presses! A friend of my dear friend Laural just released her book on Monday. Her name is R.L. Haas, and the book is Portals of Water and Wine. So far, I’m only in the first chapter, but I’m loving it! (And, yes, I’m reading it on my tablet.)

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I also settled on which book I’m going to read for Advent. As I mentioned last week, I’m participating in an online Advent retreat led by my friend ,Tara. I’ve decided to give the retreat my main focus, and to read God With Us as a supplement. It arrived in the mail today. I got the sequel, God For Us, to use this past Lent and figured God With Us would be similar. It is, and I’m so pleased. Each week features a different author. The daily readings are augmented with beautiful artwork. There are also sections highlighting the various feast days throughout the season. I will read it as I have time, but I’ll be giving myself grace if I don’t read it every day since it isn’t my main focus.

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The “something blue?” Alton Brown’s book I’m Just Here For The Food. Alton is going to help me make my first stock from my first turkey. More on that tomorrow. 😉

And yes, that is a Dalek and TARDIS marking my place. I’m such a geek!

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The Needles

Something Fruity.

I’m still working on that same apple hat from last week. I told you there was little crafting time this week. Normally, a little hat like that would be long done.

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I believe that concludes my post for this week.

Have a beautiful Wednesday evening.

~Janet