This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.Isaiah 58:6-7
Fasting, another big question for Lent. What am I going to give up for Lent? What does fasting mean for me during this season?
I decided, I’d look up fasting in the dictionary which stated it is an abstinence from all food or eating sparingly. I think this is typically what we think about when we think of fasting. Most people generally will fast from an unhealthy food or drink that they love to indulge in during Lent.
Who hasn’t given up chocolate, soda or even all sweets for Lent?
In the reading from Isaiah 58, we see that fasting means so much more. It’s more of a servitude to all of God’s people that are in need of our service. A very tall order to break every yoke that binds our sisters and brothers. But I think it pleases God if each of us takes a little bite, a baby step, in sharing our bread with those who hunger, providing shelter to the homeless and clothing those who are naked.
How do I even take that baby step?
Perhaps today, the bread we buy, we offer it up to the food pantry instead of consuming it ourself. During this time of record lows, we bring blankets and clothing to a shelter. Or perhaps go even deeper, searching our own hearts in what is occupying or binding our time, preventing us from prayer, and doing God’s work He has called us to do.
Isaiah has such a deeper meaning of fasting to prepare our hearts to receive the ultimate gift of salvation, receiving God’s love as we engage in His love.
Today as you contemplate this Lenten journey, I invite you to search your heart for the areas of true fasting. You come to the aid of those who are bound. Free yourself from the bondage that separates you from a deeper, delightful relationship with God.