Thursday, February 18, 2010

a compelling kind of fasting

contributed by Aimee

Am I passionate about fasting? Does it get me excited? Have I even taken a moment to contemplate fasting during this Lenten season? No. No. No.


As I was preparing for today's post I read from Isaiah 58. It's a passage I have heard quoted many times over the last year. But this time new parts stood out to me. Like they weren't there before. And they called me. The description of fasting - the kind of fasting God was calling His people to - was compelling to me. And for the first time fasting seemed powerful.

Fasting could be a part of my own spiritual growth AND part of God's plan to bless others who have deep needs. People who are hungry. People who are oppressed. People who are without a home. People who are lonely... My fasting from something could bless someone.

share your food with the hungry

spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry

maybe there is room for fasting from and fasting towards? Going without so that someone can go with.

How the actual translating of this idea will look in my life, I am not sure. But tonight as I write, I am hopeful.

Isaiah 58:5-11

5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed
and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD ?

6 "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?

7 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 him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness [a] will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

Please share in the comments any creative ideas you have on how to pair fasting with action. Can you think of any practical ways to tie our fasting from certain things with blessing others and helping to set things right in the world.

God please lead us in your wild and enlivening ways.


  1.'re right. They hardly seem like fasting words. There is movement;action directed to the oppressed.
    Maybe lent is a time for redefining "needs"... whether you are grocery shopping or wanting someone or something. I think I'm going to ask myself how I can fast from gaining that for my own comfort, and how I could give out of my want to someone who needs.

  2. I like that - lent as a time for redefining needs. i need that