Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Fast Fast

I have been pondering on what to do this year to mark Lent. I’ve already volunteered to lead some Churches Together Lent Bible Study Groups – but that isn’t a proper ‘Lenten Challenge’ [not that I am suggesting it is some sort of penance – see below]

lent cartoon


Tom Ringland, our Rector, has a good piece in his Parish Magazine this month about ‘Up’ – maybe not so much ‘giving up’ something, but ‘building up’ our faith, perhaps ‘taking up’ something that will make us healthier Christians [physically and spiritually] …and we must not ‘give up’ the challenge


What is ‘True Fasting’ all about?  My mate Gaz is doing this one.

The American Pastor, Marjorie Thompson, an American pastor and writer has asked this question

Fasting Quote1

Fasting is trendy at the moment- mostly among dieting friends. But they mean ‘eating fewer calories on some days, in order to lose weight’ – they don’t claim any spiritual merit for the exercise.But aside from food – other blogfriends are doing a Clothing Fast

lent 6 items

Read more about it here, and here. I understand the principles behind it – but don’t think that one is for me. I can’t wear the same clothes to kneel on the floor beside a 5 year old at school as I wear to preach on a Sunday, and then there are the jeans I wear for housework and  [and of course Hayley’s wedding in April] Plus I think I would have to do laundry every other day. Nope that’s out!

lent chocolate

I do enjoy chocolate, but I can take it or leave it [actually, if I leave it, Bob will probably eat it on my behalf] I still have at least one box left over from Christmas.

Oh dear…what shall I do? Tom’s article suggests “create some space in each day …change the pace of our busy lives… use that time in a focussed way to reflect on commitments…priorities…what God may be saying” For many years I have followed the practice of having a daily ‘Quiet Time’ when I read Scripture and pray’…but I want to do something more this Lent.

So I have decided to ‘Fast from Fast’. During Lent I shall try to slow down a bit – specifically by cutting back on multi-tasking. I acknowledge that often my attempts to save time by doing two or more tasks at once result in disasters which take even longer to sort.

  • When I sit and watch a TV programme with Bob, I shall give my full attention to the screen, and to Bob’s conversation [not lose the plot, because I am wrestling with some knitting or complicated crochet pattern]
  • When I put on the CD a friend has recommended, I shall close my eyes and listen to it – right through – not leap up half way to make a cup of tea, or read a magazine at the same time
  • When I’m sitting by the computer and the phone rings, I shall converse intelligently with the caller and not play Solitaire when they are talking to me! [I only do this sometimes, but confess it is a bad habit, not good manners at all]
  • When I am cooking, I shall slow down a little, and concentrate just on getting the meal ready. Trying to fold laundry, and unload the dishwasher at the same time as frying sausages and scrambling eggs is a recipe for disaster. Yet I still do it.

I am sure other things will occur to me over the next 6 weeks. As I have started to make the list, I can see that so many of these activities are ones which involve relationships and conversations. People matter more than activities or things. Jesus showed his love for people by spending time with them, by listening to their concerns, by ensuring they were properly fed. Slow me down, Lord!

What challenges are you taking up this Lent?


  1. I have signed up for this one
    Also have two books and

  2. I also would like to slow down.
    I am also a multi tasker but I think my worst trait is admiring other peoples achiements and wanting to do likewise
    I must be my own person

  3. I probably need to have a think about what I'll do as it seems to have crept up on me but I quite fancy making a ten bead rosary a day and leaving them around a church for someone to find like I did last year. The making time is contemplation for me and the randomness of leaving them for God to direct to their new owners warms my heart as I hope the finders feel touched by the finding.

  4. I am doing an Internet fast, which I'm about to write about on my blog. I tend to turn to the Internet whenever I'm feeling a bit bored, and then waste time that I could spend in so many better ways. So look to hear from me on Wednesdays and Sundays, my blogging days during Lent. I like your idea of slowing down--it's a sort of Sabbath practice, isn't it?



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