This Wednesday we start a 3 day church fast. We'll meet each night to worship and pray and then we'll gather around a common theme for the next day.
Whether you're a part of Southlands or a blog reader from another community, you may be asking, "But why fasting?" Is it a guilty purge after a Christmas binge? Or maybe an attempt to please God so that He blesses us in 2012?
To be honest, both thoughts have crossed my mind, but really, it's none of the above. When the Pharisees asked Jesus why He and His disciples never fasted He replied, "When the bridegroom is here, the guests of the bridegroom do not fast.
But a time will come when the bridegroom will be taken away and then they will fast." (Mark 2:20) With these words He's showing us how and why we fast.
The fact is, that Jesus the Bridegroom has come to us. He loves us so much that He paid the bridal price for us with his own life. Here is the critical difference between fasting as ritual and fasting as sacrament.
We don't fast to try and win His presence or His pleasure. We fast with joyful confidence, knowing He has come to us and is well pleased with us.
This is how we fast.
Here's the thing though. Although Jesus has come to us and given His life in payment for us, he has in fact been 'taken away.' He has ascended to heaven.
This is why we fast.
We long for a tangible sense of His presence.
When we fast we're denying ourselves of food so that we can feast on Jesus.
We're asking for the Father to communicate the presence of Jesus to us in new and fresh ways by His Holy Spirit.
We are not satisfied knowing about Jesus. We want to Know Him.
We want to abide in Him and for His words to abide in us.
We want to remember that apart from Him we can do nothing.
And we want to fast longing for the day when He returns for us once and for all.
Jesus Himself is longing and fasting for that day.(Luke 22:18)
The day when we will never fast again.
The day when the unending feast can finally begin.