Fastenzeit is Here!
Our Lord Christ tells us that when we fast we are to do so without making a show of it, or big deal about it, nor to disfigure our faces, nor to make sure others know we are fasting, but simply just to do it.Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, begins the Lenten fast.
Christ assumes we do fast “when you fast,” he said, not “if you fast.” If this is so why did fasting fall out of favor among Lutherans? Probably, like most things like this, out of fear of Roman errors associated with it, and of course there are many such errors lurking and skulking about, but as the old saying goes, “Abuse does not negate use.”
And so, friends, let’s consider that in our Lutheran Church we do still confess that fasting is a “fine outward bodily discipline” as we say with Small Catechism. In fact, the Lenten season has been known since the Reformation with the word “Fastenzeit” which means, “Fasting time.”
And, while “giving up something for Lent” has become a popular substitute for fasting, let’s be sure we are clear on what fasting is. Fasting means not to eat as much. To forego a meal, or a portion of a meal, and to do so with intentionality and to let that time of hunger pain remind us to watch and pray, to remind us that our hunger should not be for bread alone, but every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Fasting is simply to be an aid for our devotional life in the Word and prayer.