Thursday, March 11, 2021



         Prayer - Fasting - Alms

This week let's center in on Fasting.


Dear All of Us,

Of all the less than fun things about Lent,
fasting is hands down the least fun.
Yet, it is essential to the traditional trinity of 
           Lenten Disciplines: 
         prayer - fasting - alms

In milder times, f
asting in Lent was sort of like
     flossing your teeth,
             dieting to loose ten pounds:
important, bothersome, requires consistency,
easily put off to a string of tomorrows 
and thus to non existence.
Skipping it, the plaque and pounds pile up
diminishing health, be that body or spirit.

These dark days and dreadful nights 
are of course a galaxy from milder times.
In their painful way they compound  
one huge denial,
and not one of our choosing or control.
We are "denied," forced to "abstain " from
much more than a "sacrificial selfie"
such as no chocolate during Lent.
It's more a sort of starvation 
than  the deliberate discipline of fasting.

Chosen and embraced, 
the spiritual discipline of fasting 
is an absence that fills.
Let's give it a chance.


Fasting isn't just some sort of restriction.
It's a release to freedom and fullness.
It reduces blockage and burden 
that slow us, weigh us down.
It clears the table of spiritual junk food
and opens for soulful haute' cuisine.
It's a letting go of the lesser,
opening for the fuller.

We fast in varied modes because 
we regularly fall for a false fullness
that comes at us in all sorts of phony forms -
personal, social, physical, psychological, 
material, even spiritual.
We seek peace, comfort and contentment in faux fixes:
     - trying to eat/drink/drug our way to them
     - getting fixated on fashions of the moment 
       in clothing and apparel,
       recreations and vacations,
       music, art, reading, 
       the latest hula hoops, 
     - addictive, compulsive media absorption,
     - superficial spiritualities, soulless religious practice,  
     - seeking to assuage personal doubt/discomfort 
       by popularity, power, possessions, privilege
     - a rash of rush hoping to haze over insecurity.

In personal and corporate ways we are tempted 
to phony filling just as Jesus was 
in his Lenten desert fasting.
He took a pass and was free to be all he is.
In him we can as well.
That's fasting,  
fasting from the phony,
fasting free to fullness.

So, yes we do fast in many modes and manners.
We don't let possessions possess us,
be they intellectual, financial, physical/material, 
position, gift or talent.
We divest indulgence.
We keep and use what is truly needed 
and honestly appropriate 
to our circumstances.
We share the rest.
This kind of fasting frees us 
for solidarity with those that need.
We use what we have as part of 
the 10 percent in society so that 
the 90 percent have 
100 percent of what's needed.
That could mean covering a families rent 
for a month so they are not evicted,
it could mean a hundred dollars a month
to the local food bank - we fast so they are feed.

At times we fast from food and drink, 
to sharpen and sensitize 
appreciation and gratitude,
We fast to feast fully.

We fast from all sorts of good things 
for a bit so that The Spirit 
may clarify valuation,
strengthen will,
enhance gratitude. 

We fast from any and every form of sin/evil.
This fasting is step one 
in completely dislodging them 
from our lives and the way we live them.
We join others to effect this freedom 
for our shared, common life.
Solid social justice 
and environmental movements
very much mean a shared fasting -
a denial of the wrong practice
so to embrace the right and real.
Consider fasting from fossil fuels 
to save a planet.
Corporate, difficult, freeing.
We let go to get go.
It can be electrifying!
(Yes, that was intended)

And get going I do.
Thanks you for being one with those of us
sharing these weekly Lenten postings.

             In God's Dear Love,

                     John Frank

       PS: If you wish, please draw 
       from the offerings that follow 
       during this seasoning of fasting.



Fasting is a narrowing down for expansion.

Over these days and nights of Lent,
little by little, we spend soul with scriptures.
We ask The Spirit to show and say 
what we need to see and hear
as we fast for fullness.

 "Yet even now, says the Lord,
  return to me with your whole heart,
  with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 
  rend your hearts and not your clothing."
                                                  Joel 2: 12-13

 Being acutely specific and honest about ourselves and our society, 
 and both in our right now circumstances:

      - what does "return" to the Lord mean and require?
      - what does "whole heart" mean and require?
      - what does "fasting" mean and require?
      - what does "weeping" mean and require?
      - what does "mourning" mean and require?
      - what does "rend your hearts" mean and require?
      - what does "not your clothing" mean and require?


"Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; 
 call a solemn assembly; gather the people.
 Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; 
 gather the children, even the infants at the breast. 
 Let the bridegroom leave his room, 
 and the bride her canopy."
                                                       Joel 2:15-16 

 In our church and country what does it mean 
 and what does it take:
        - to "blow the trumpet"?
        - to "sanctify a fast"?
        - to "sanctify the congregation"?
        - to "call a solemn assembly; gather the people...
          the aged...children...infants at the breast...
          the bridegroom.. the bride"?
        - to address what "fast' means 
          in our personal and shared living


" reconciled to that in Christ 
 we might become the righteousness of God."
                                                        II Corinthians 5:21
           -just how willing am I, and are we as a people, 
            to see the separations that distance us from God 
            and be taken through the realignment necessary 
            to be "reconciled" to the Limitless Goodness Who Is God?
           -what are those separations?
           -what realignments are necessary?
           -what will it take to be taken through them?
           -what will life be like to be taken into 
            the very "righteousness of God"?
           -what will living that rightness 
            in the particulars and place of our now look like and mean?


"And whenever you fast, do not look dismal,
 like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces 
 so as to show others that they are fasting...
 But when you fast, put oil on your head 
 and wash your face, so that you fasting 
 may be seen not by others 
 but by your Father who is in secret; 
 and your Father who sees in secret will reward you."
                                                                Matthew 6: 16-18

            -what's the message here?
            -what does it mean to our actual, practical fasting?


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                       spirituality for the street

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