Daily Archives: Saturday, 20 February, 2010

Spiritual Practices 3—fasting

When you fast…

Acts 13.1-3
Matthew 6.16-18

We’ve been talking about spiritual practices for a couple of weeks, and we’ll continue through Lent. What is a spiritual practice? It’s something like prayer, seeking God’s will, fasting, and worship. It’s something we do intentionally to give us space to keep company with Jesus and learn to know him better. If that sounds too spiritual for you, or too religious, think of the spiritual practices this way: they are ways of helping us to be human. And if that’s too airy-fairy for you, let’s put it this way: spiritual practices help us to get to age 70 or 50 or 30 without succumbing to crippling cynicism or to terminal grumpiness.

Today, we’re talking about fasting.

I can still hear my mother’s voice in my boyhood’s ear: ‘Finish what’s on your plate. There’s children starving in Africa.’

I used to wonder what did finishing my food have to do with children in Africa? I was meant to be grateful that I had food to eat, rather than taking it for granted. But the main thing it’s given me is something else: a compulsion that I still have to eat everything that’s put before me.

Jesus said, ‘Whenever you fast…’ I’m not so good at fasting. We live in a strange time; a time with plenty of food, in which young women—and increasingly, young men—are in danger of succumbing to anorexia. A time when the most readily recognised sign in the world is not the Christian cross but MacDonald’s arches. A time in which food is dumped in order to keep prices high. A time that knows all about dieting, but nothing about fasting.

Fasting: let’s be clear. Biblical fasting is about seeking God’s will in a particular situation, or seeking a sense of God’s grace and peace. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under church year, sermon, spiritual practices

Friday fragments — 19.02.10

A short FF, and one day late due to the meeting of the Working Group on Worship over the past two days… I’ll post something about that soon.

Questions on the Revised Common Lectionary?

At the Working Group, we were talking about the Revised Common Lectionary among other things. Vanderbilt University has a great site for the RCL, and this FAQ page is part of it.


Spiritual Transformation

We’ve gone off-lectionary at the moment at Centenary Uniting Church… We’re talking about spiritual practices. But how do we talk about their effects? Mark Galli discusses why the spiritually-mature don’t talk about their maturity.



The Working Group on Doctrine is putting out a series of ‘doc.bytes’, short articles in pdf format on doctrinal issues for reflection and discussion. Take a look at the latest, on baptism; the others are here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Liturgy, RCL, spiritual practices, Uniting Church in Australia